Chennai doctors perform Asia’s first lung transplant on Covid-19 patient
A brain dead man has breathed new life into a Covid-19 patient with severe lung infection and given new hope to a young Mumbai woman after his lungs and hands were transplanted to the respective donors.
The 34-year-old deceased man’s wife also agreed to donate his heart, liver and skin for various recipients in city hospitals.
Incidentally, the hands were airlifted to Mumbai with the hope of giving the woman a real pair of limbs after she lost her hands in a train accident in Ghatkopar on January 12,2014.
The transplant that benefited more than one recipient was made possible due to the donation from the deceased, who was declared brain dead by doctors at Gleneagles Global Hospital in Chennai after intracerebral hemorrhage on Thursday, hospital sources said.
After his wife’s consent, the departed man’s organs were allotted to various hospitals.
While Global Hospital Chennai retained the liver, the heart, lungs, kidneys and skin were donated to different hospitals in the city.
His hands went to Monika More, a young woman from Mumbai’s suburban area, who was using artificial hands and is now set to get a real pair, if the bilateral surgery succeeds.
The heart and lung transplant surgeries were performed at MGM Healthcare here.
Incidentally, the 48 year-old recipient of lungs from Delhi turned out to be the first case of “successful completion of a critical bilateral lung transplant” on a Covid-19 positive patient, MGM Healthcare, where he is undergoing treatment, said.
It claimed this was Asia’s “first known lung transplant” on a Covid-19 positive patient and the second in the hospital since the lockdown began.
The transplant was performed on August 27 and post the transplant, the patient is doing fine in the Transplant ICU at MGM Healthcare, the hospital said in a statement.
The patient’s lungs were severely damaged due to Covid-19 related fibrosis after he contracted the infection on June 8 and only a small portion of the lungs was still functioning then.
As he became breathless and oxygen saturation came down, he was put on ventilator support on June 20. His condition continued to worsen in spite of it and he was airlifted to MGM Healthcare from Ghaziabad on July 20, the hospital said.
As his lung condition continued to worsen, he was put on ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) support on July 25 for more than one month. Such patients are difficult to manage even in well-equipped ICUs.
“Initially we were in a dilemma when his case was referred to us. But we prioritised the patient’s overall health over anything else. We decided to proceed with the surgery.
Our team of doctors and the other support staff took up the challenge and boldly stood by the decision to go ahead with the transplant without thinking about the risk to their own health and safety.” “We are happy for the patient as the transplanted lungs are working well,” said Dr K R Balakrishnan, Chairman and Director of Cardiac Sciences and Director of the Heart and Lung Transplant Program at MGM Healthcare here, who led the team.
According to Dr Suresh Rao, Co-Director, Institute of Heart and Lung Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support, the hospital accepted the heart from the same donor to another patient who was waiting for a heart transplant, “thereby giving a new lease of life to two people.” More, studying in a junior college in Mumbai, lost her hands at a local railway station Ghatkopar in a train accident in 2014.
BJP leader Kirit Somaiya supported her with getting electronic artificial hands from his social outfit ‘Yuvak Pratisthan’ in July the same year.
While More completed her graduation and started working at a local hospital at Kurla as a social worker, she subsequently registered herself for bilateral hands transplant at Global Hospital, located at Parel in that city.
Somaiya claimed that the cost of her transplant is borne by Yuvak Pratisthan and Global hospital.
“The surgery was proposed in summer itself, but had to be postponed after the coronavirus crisis. Finally, the hospital and More family decided to perform the surgery on August 27,” Somaiya said.
“The hands were retrieved from a deceased donor at a private hospital in Chennai and airlifted to Mumbai on Thursday. The surgery conducted by a 12 member team led by Dr Nilesh Satbhai included Plastic, microvascular and reconstructive surgeons, Orthopaedic surgeons and Anaesthetists started on Thursday late night and was completed on Friday evening,” a statement from Global Hospital said.
The patient has been shifted to the ICU post operatively for further management, it said.
A hospital spokesperson thanked the donor family, donor hospital, Zonal Transplant Coordination Centre, Transtan, Regional Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation and National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation for the timely coordination and allocation.
“It goes without saying that the support extended by Traffic Police and Airport Authorities of Mumbai and Chennai ensured timely transport of the organ,” the spokesperson added.