The first COVID-19 patient in the United States to receive a double lung transplant was discharged from the hospital this week, according to news reports.
After coronavirus inflicted irreversible damage to her lungs, 28-year-old Myra Ramirez underwent a transplant on June 5, Earlier, Live Science reported. To be eligible for the procedure, she first had to check a negative assessment virus, because transplant patients must take drugs that suppress immunity after surgery. Drugs do not allow the body to reject a new organ, but bury immune systemability to fight active infection.
“Once Myra̵7;s body cleared the virus, it became clear that the lung damage would not heal, and we needed to list it on lung transplant, “Dr. Beth Malsin, Pulmonary and Critical Disease Specialist, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, it is said in the message. Ramirez received new lungs two days later.
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Ramirez woke up after a 10-hour operation when “all these tubes” came out of her – “I just couldn’t recognize my own body,” she said New York Times. Ramirez spent six weeks before the operation intensive care unit (ICU) on the extracorporeal membrane (ECMO) ventilator and oxygenator, which pumps oxygenated blood through the body when the heart and lungs cannot do so on their own.
“I don’t remember anything during my six weeks at COVID SIL. When I finally woke up, it was mid-June and I had no idea why I was in a hospital bed,” Ramirez said in a statement from Northwest. When she finally woke up, her nurses asked if she knew the date, and Ramirez guessed it was early May, according to the Times. She was able to return home on July 29.
Ramirez has to take rejection medication for the rest of her life, but because she is young and healthy, “she will continue to get stronger and stronger,” her surgeon, Dr. Ankit Bharat, told The New York Times. After a lung transplant, more than 85% to 90% of patients survive one year and can function independently in everyday life, Live Science previously reported. About 50% of lung transplant recipients survive for at least five years after the procedure, and there have been reports of some people living 20 years or more, according to the data. National Health Service of Great Britain.
“She asked if she could go skydiving. We will probably get to her in a few months,” Bharat said of Ramirez.
After Ramirez’s transplant, Northwest performed a second double lung transplant on Brian Koons, a 62-year-old coronavirus patient.
“Myra and Brian would not be alive today without a bilateral transplant,” Bharat said in a statement. “COVID-19 completely destroyed them lungsand they became critically ill by switching to a transplant procedure, making it a formidable affair. “The procedure usually takes six to seven hours, but both Kuhn and Ramirez underwent 10 hours of surgery because there was so much inflammation and dead tissue in their lungs.
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As Kunz and Ramirez are recovering, there are two additional COVID-19 patients in the Northwest awaiting dual lung transplants, and the hospital is advising other transplant centers on how to approach the difficult operation, the Times reported.
“It will be up to doctors to determine which patients are really candidates and what the deadlines are,” Dr. Thiago Machuca, a thoracic surgeon at Shands Shands University Hospital in Gainesville, told the Times. A COVID-19 patient transported from another condition recently received a double lung transplant at Shands Hospital, he said.
“We don’t want to do it too early when the patient can still recover from COVID lung disease and regain a good quality of life, but you also don’t want to miss the boat and have a patient where it’s useless, the patient is too sick,” he said.
“I think people need to recognize this option sooner and just start talking about it before it gets to that point,” Bharat told the Times.
Originally published on Live Science.