Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital said that it has succeeded in transplanting a lung into a female patient in her 50s who direly needed it because her lung functions deteriorated by the Covid-19 virus. The surgery marked the first of its kind in Korea and the ninth in the world.
|Medical workers watch the patient who received a lung transplant after the coronavirus damaged her respiratory system, at Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital in Anyang, south of Seoul.|
The hospital initially admitted the patient as a severe Covid-19 case on Feb. 29. Although the Covid-19 virus quickly disappeared, her condition continued to worsen.
Initial treatment consisting of chloroquine (malaria treatment), Kaletra (AIDS treatment) and steroids did not work.
The hospital diagnosed her with lung fibrosis, an illness that hardens the lung. Due to her conditions, the patient has been put on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) treatment since March 1.
"The patient also holds the record for receiving the world's longest ECMO treatment as she got it for 112 days before the lung transplant," the hospital said. "The patient has now recovered to the point of breathing on her own and is undergoing a rehabilitation program to restore physical strength."
The success was attributable to preemptive ECMO treatment and 24-hour care by medical workers to prevent various complications such as infection, bleeding, and thrombosis caused by long-term ECMO treatment, the hospital noted.
The patient said, "I didn't know how grateful it is to breathe when I was healthy. After the lung transplant, I felt that the operation was successful as my breathing got better. I will live with gratitude to the person who donated the lung as well as doctors and nurses who have taken care of me for so long.”
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