Double lung transplant for Covid survivor is first in Mexico

The 57-year-old's lungs were severely damaged by the disease

Doctors in Monterrey, Nuevo León, have performed Mexico’s first double lung transplant for a Covid-19 patient.

A 57-year-old man whose lungs were severely damaged by the infectious disease received the new organs during a six-hour operation at the Christus Muguerza hospital on August 31 and September 1.

It was just the fourth double lung transplant for a coronavirus patient anywhere in the world and the first in both Mexico and Latin America.

Before his operation, the patient was connected to an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, machine for 50 days as he waited for a donor.

His lungs were so badly damaged as a result of contracting the coronavirus and developing Covid-19 about two months ago that he would have died had he been placed on a ventilator rather than an ECMO machine, said Ángel Martínez Vela, medical director of the Christus Muguerza hospital.

Martínez told the newspaper Milenio that the recovering patient will remain in the hospital for at least two weeks because his new lungs are still 20% dependent on the ECMO machine.

He said it was too soon to consider the double lung transplant a success, explaining that while the operation is an “important step,” the post-surgery phase is just as or even more complicated. It remains to be seen whether the patient’s body will accept or reject the new lungs, Martínez said.

A large medical team including surgeons, anesthetists, perfusionists and nurses worked together to perform the lung transplant operation, which began late on August 31 and concluded in the early hours of September 1.

Martínez said that the Christus Muguerza hospital, a private facility, has the only active lung transplant program in the country, explaining that such operations have been completed successfully there for the past six years.

Source: Milenio (sp) 

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