After 40 days on an artificial lung, a Hungarian man’s life was saved with a successful lung transplant at the National Korányi Institute of TB and Pulmonology, HVG reports. The man had suffered a brutal Covid infection in March, and his lungs had weakened to the point where they could no longer supply him with oxygen.
Venovenous Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Therapy (VV-ECMO), in other words an artificial lung, was the short term solution to help the 41-year-old man breathe. He had arrived to the National Korányi Institute of TB and Pulmonology with a critical Covid infection. Neither hospital therapies nor ventilators could help him.
Covid-19 can cause
inflammation of the lungs, which is their typical response to infection. In critical cases, the lungs can have an extreme reaction, filling with fluid and debris, making it increasingly difficult to breathe. This can lead to severe pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), at which point a ventilator may be needed to help the individual breathe until they recover.
Unfortunately, even the artificial lung was not enough, since there was practically no way of getting air into his lungs, and it became clear that he needed a transplant if he was to survive. Thankfully, since all his other organs were in good shape, he was applicable for the operation.
After a negative PCR test, the man was sent to the intensive unit of the National Institute of Oncology, where he received a new lung on May 9.
His rehabilitation, which started at the National Institute of Oncology before he was moved back to the Korányi Institute, lasted 85 days. Thankfully he has returned home and continues his recovery with the help of the Semmelweis University Pulmonology Clinic.
Featured photo illustration by Attila Balázs/MTI