Surgeons in Chicago have given a new set of lungs to a young woman with severe lung damage from the coronavirus.
Only a few other COVID-19 survivors, in China and Europe, have received lung transplants.
Doctors say the patient, a Hispanic woman in her 20s, was ‘pretty healthy’ before she caught coronavirus, although she’d been taking a drug with immune-suppressing effects for a minor health condition during the prior year.
After being sick for two weeks, she was placed on a ventilator and heart-lung machine the day she was admitted, and remained on them for almost two months before her operation last Friday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
The 10-hour procedure was challenging because the virus had left her lungs full of holes and almost fused to the chest wall, Dr Ankit Bharat, who performed the operation, said Wednesday.
Doctors have kept her on both machines while her body heals but say her chances for a normal life are good.
‘We are anticipating that she will have a full recovery,’ said Dr Rade Tomic, medical director of the hospital’s lung transplant program.