Northwestern performs 1st known double lung transplant on COVID-19 patient

Surgeons at Chicago-based Northwestern Memorial Hospital performed a double lung transplant on an adult patient with COVID-19 last week, according to The New York Times.

The surgery marks the first known lung transplant performed on a COVID-19 patient in the U.S.

The patient is a woman in her 20s who had no serious underlying medical conditions prior to contracting the virus, which permanently damaged her lungs.

The procedure took about 10 hours — longer than most lung transplants due to the extent of inflammation in her lungs. The woman is back on a ventilator but recovering well from the surgery, which was her only chance at survival, according to Dr. Ankit Bharat, chief of thoracic surgery and surgical director of Northwestern's lung transplant program.

Dr. Bharat said he wanted other transplant programs to know the procedure could help save some severely ill COVID-19 patients. 

"I want to emphasize that this is not for every COVID patient," Dr. Bharat told The Times. "We are talking about patients who are relatively young, very functional, with minimal to no comorbid conditions, with permanent lung damage who can't get off the ventilator."

Since the transplant, other hospitals have been reaching out to learn more about the procedure or see if they could send some patients to Northwestern for a transplant, according to Dr. Bharat.

To read the full article, click here.


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