Covid patient receives world’s first living donor lung transplant

Covid patient receives world's first living donor lung transplant thumbnail

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image captionCovid-19 has caused longterm lung damage in many patients (file image from the Jacques Cartier hospital in France)

A woman in Japan has become the world’s first Covid patient to receive a living donor lung transplant.

The patient received lung segments from her son and husband after her organs failed because of damage caused by the coronavirus.

Doctors in Kyoto hope she will make a complete recovery within months.

Waiting lists for full lung transplants – where the organ is provided by donors who have died – are very long in Japan and elsewhere.

The procedure at Kyoto University Hospital took around 11 hours to perform. Both donors and patient are in a stable condition, doctors said.

Dozens of lung transplants to treat coronavirus infections have been carried out in China, Europe and the United States by using the lungs of organ donors who have passed away, but the waiting list can be years-long in Japan, the hospital said.

media captionRadiologist Dr Sam Hare uses a plastic cup to demonstrate how Covid-19 can leave lung damage

When it became clear that the patient – who had no underlying health conditions – would need a lung transplant in order to survive, her son and husband decided to donate part of their lungs. They were warned of health risks due to decreased lung capacity.

Professor Hiroshi Date, a thoracic surgeon who was in charge of the operation, told Kyodo News: “I think there is a lot of hope for this treatment in the sense that it creates a new option.”

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