First double-lung transplant COVID-19 patient discharged from Northwestern

The first COVID-19 patient to undergo a double lung transplant was discharged from Chicago-based Northwestern Memorial Hospital July 29, reports The New York Times.

Mayra Ramirez, a 28-year-old paralegal in Chicago, was hospitalized with COVID-19 on April 28. Ms. Ramirez has an autoimmune condition that requires her to take medicine to suppress her immune system, which may have made her more vulnerable to the virus, the Times said. She spent six weeks on a ventilator and underwent the double-lung transplant June 5 after the virus had permanently damaged her lungs.   

Northwestern completed its second double-lung transplant on a man in his 60s in early July. Two more COVID-19 patients now await the transplants at Northwestern, and another patient is being flown in from Seattle next week for the procedure, according to Dr. Ankit Bharat, chief of thoracic surgery and surgical director of Northwestern's lung transplant program.

Other hospitals have tried to refer patients to Northwestern, but most of them had serious medical issues that made them ineligible for a double-lung transplant, Dr. Bharat told the Times. In some instances, hospitals likely waited too long to recommend a transplant, and the patient's condition worsened too much to undergo the procedure, according to Dr. Bharat. 

“I think people need to recognize this option earlier and just start at least talking about it before it gets to that point,” he told the Times.

Other transplant centers are considering similar transplant surgeries for COVID-19 patients. University of Florida Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville completed its first double- lung transplant on a COVID-19 patient July 24.

To read the full article, click here.

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