A Kyoto resident contracted SARS-Cov-2 late last year, and as her condition deteriorated sharply, both lungs began to fail, Nippon reported. After three months of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation treatment, doctors found her lungs stiff and practically dysfunctional. Although her respiratory symptoms improved, there was no hope that she could survive without an organ transplant.
Over the past year, 20 to 40 lung transplants have been performed on such patients in China, Europe and the United States, but all of them were taken from deceased patients. In order not to wait for a donor organ, the doctors decided to carry out a lung tissue transplant taken from the patient’s husband and son, who had no health problems.
The operation lasted 11 hours, the woman is being treated in intensive care, the condition of her donors is stable.
“The world’s first lung transplant from a living donor is expected to be a promising treatment for patients with serious lung disease,” the doctors said.
However, such operations have serious limitations, experts noted. Lung transplantation from a living donor can only be performed in patients under the age of 65 who have no damage to other organs. Typically, most patients with severe COVID-19 have many other serious illnesses.