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May 14, 2020 / 06:57

Lung transplant indicated for British Covid-19 patient

Only a lung transplant could save the British Covid-19 patient's life,

Vietnam’s health ministry on May 12 decided to conduct a lung transplant for a 43-year-old British Covid-19 patient who has been in critical condition for more than a month, Kinhtedothi.vn reported.

 A medical staff examines samples for Covid-19 testing at HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases. Photo: Quynh Tran

Dr. Nguyen Van Vinh Chau, director of the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, said that the CT (computed tomography) scan results have shown that the patient's lungs had turned to fibrosis and lost function. This condition means that the patient will die if the life support machine called Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is terminated.

Only a lung transplant could save the patient's life, Chau stressed, adding that the Ministry of Health has requested the National Organ Transplant Center under Vietnam - Germany Hospital to carry out the surgical procedure.

The patient, who works as a pilot for Vietnam Airlines, is the most severe Covid-19 case in Vietnam. Both of his lungs are condensed and test results for Covid-19 have come out negative and positive interleavedly multiple times, his liver enzymes level is high. He is currently being treated with antibiotics and dialysis and administered tranquilizers.

The patient’s body has been resistant to all types of domestic coagulant drugs and the health ministry has to purchase drugs overseas for his treatment.

The patient, 43, was admitted to Ho Chi Minh City Hospital for Tropical Diseases on March 20 after being confirmed to be positive on March 18. He has been on a ventilator for 16 days and put on ECMO, which involves pumping blood out of the body to a heart-lung machine that removes carbon dioxide and sends oxygen-filled blood back, for 38 days.

The patient's condition worsened despite his relatively young age. Doctors said he suffers from a blood clotting disorder and cytokine storm syndrome, an intense immune response where the immune system releases a lot of cytokines through the bloodstream, which works against the body.

The Vietnam Airlines pilot was the first case of a cluster, the Buddha Bar and Grill in District 2, which turned out to be HCMC’s biggest Covid-19 hotspot with 19 cases.

Vietnam has recorded no Covid-19 deaths to date. The country has gone through 27 days without community transmission of the disease.