By Sangmi Cha
ANYANG, South Korea (Reuters) – After a document 112 days on a specialised life-support system, a South Korean COVID-19 affected person is recovering from double lung transplant surgical procedure, medical doctors say, in solely the ninth such process worldwide because the coronavirus outbreak started.
The 50-year-old girl was recognized with the illness and hospitalised in late February after which spent 16 weeks on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) assist, which includes circulating a affected person’s blood by means of a machine that provides oxygen to crimson blood cells.
That is the longest that any COVID-19 affected person on the earth has spent on ECMO assist, her medical doctors mentioned.
Varied medicine such because the anti-malarial hydroxychloroquine, the HIV remedy Kaletra and steroids did not cease her pulmonary fibrosis – scarring within the lungs – from worsening, mentioned Dr Park Sung-hoon, professor of pulmonary and important care drugs at Hallym College Sacred Coronary heart Hospital.
That left few choices apart from a lung transplant.
“The likelihood of success in lung transplants on ECMO sufferers is 50%, and fortuitously, our affected person was properly ready earlier than the surgical procedure after we discovered the donor,” mentioned Dr Kim Hyoung-soo, director of the hospital’s ECMO programme, who was accountable for the surgical procedure.
The affected person declined to be recognized or interviewed.
The medical doctors who carried out the eight-hour surgical procedure described her destroyed lungs as onerous like rock.
She had an acute respiratory misery syndrome (ARDS) when she got here to hospital, Park mentioned, and couldn’t dwell with out the ECMO machine’s assist.
ECMO is usually used on sufferers who want extra assist than ventilators can present, and who’re thought-about to have a 90% probability of dying. Half of sufferers get better in two to 3 weeks on ECMO, and a lung transplant is taken into account for individuals who do not, Kim mentioned.
The surgical procedure was the ninth after six related surgical procedures in China, and one every in america and Australia, the hospital mentioned.
Lung transplants are much less widespread that different transplants in South Korea, with 92 of them in 2018, in contrast with 2,108 kidney and 176 coronary heart transplants, in accordance with the Korea Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.
Lee Solar-hee, a head nurse of the ECMO programme who has cared for the affected person since February, mentioned the girl appeared to have a stronger-than-usual will to dwell, partially pushed by being a mom of two.
“She instructed us, ‘I am grateful for the sunshine, for the moonlight. I am so grateful that I’m respiration’,” Lee mentioned.
Lee mentioned the girl already is aware of the very first thing she needs to do when launched from the hospital:
“To get a pleasant tub.”
Docs mentioned she can be discharged when her chest muscle tissue are sturdy sufficient to assist her respiration.
(Reporting by Sangmi Cha, extra reporting by Cheyoun Gained; Enhancing by Josh Smith and Robert Birsel)