A woman with COPD from the state of Michigan in the USA, was to have both of her lungs replaced with new ones with the help of new donor lungs. NBC News writes that the transplant took place somewhere between summer and autumn 2020.
The donor lungs were taken from a woman who suffered serious brain damage resulting in death following a car accident. The lungs themselves had been sampled and tested. Tests were also performed on the donor woman’s nose and throat, but nothing turned out to be abnormal.
“We performed screening, did all the tests we normally do and all the tests that can be done in such a case were performed,” said Daniel Kaul, MD and director of the transplant department at Michigan University Hospital, in a report published in the American Journal of Transplantation.
Became suddenly ill after the operation
At first it seemed that the operations had gone well, but after three days things started to change.
The woman developed a fever, her blood pressure dropped and she struggled with shortness of breath. All symptoms can be synonymous with a lung infection.
Her health gradually worsened, and after a while, the woman developed septic shock and heart problems.
The doctors decided to perform a test that they had not previously performed, namely a coronal test.
When the test came back, it turned out that there was coronavirus in the woman’s lungs, which the doctors saw as strange.
There was no indication that she had been infected before, so the hunt for the route of infection was initiated.
Had done thorough tests
The person from whom the lungs were donated had, as mentioned, been through a series of tests, and 48 hours before they were operated on, they had tested them for corona, with a negative test result as a result.
The family of the donor woman was contacted and they could tell that prior to the accident she had not had any symptoms of coronavirus, or that she had been traveling. She also did not have close contacts who were infected.
The doctors had nevertheless taken care of a sample made of fluid from the woman’s lungs before they were transplanted in, and it now suddenly became more interesting.
New research revealed something unusual
It was decided that the sample should pass a corona test, and it turned out to be positive.
– We would never have used the lungs if a positive coronary test had shown that there was coronavirus in the lungs, says Kaul.
The woman had simply been infected by having lung surgery with coronary heart disease.
Over time, she quickly became even worse, and several of her organs failed. Doctors tried to give women several of the approved treatments available for corona, such as the drug remdesivir and blood plasma, but to no avail.
Finally, the woman also received ECMO treatment, which is a machine used to relieve a failing heart or lungs. But it was useless, and 61 days after the lung transplant, she lost her life.
First of its kind
Kaul writes in the report that prior to this case it was not clear whether the coronavirus could be transmitted through organ transplantation, although it is well documented with other respiratory viruses.
According to NBC News, the case documented in Michigan is the first to be registered in the United States. A total of over 40,000 transplants were performed in the country in 2020. Whether something similar has occurred elsewhere is not known.
In the aftermath of the case, there have been demands for even more thorough tests of lung donors in the USA.
#give #patient #lungs