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Japanese Doctors Perform World’s First Living Donor Lung Transplant to Covid-19 Patient


Kyoto University Hospital said the woman underwent an 11-hour operation on Wednesday by a medical team of 30 to transplant lung tissue from her husband and son.

But the Kyoto hospital said this case was the first in which lung tissue had been transplanted from living donors to a Covid-19 patient.

Dr Hiroshi Date, a thoracic surgeon at the hospital who conducted the operation, said it gave hope to patients with severe lung damage from Covid-19.

“We have demonstrated that we now have a lung transplant option (from living donors),” he said at a press conference Thursday.

The patient, identified only as a woman from Japan’s western Kansai region, contracted Covid-19 late last year and spent months on a life-sustaining machine that functioned as an artificial lung, according to the Kyoto University Hospital.

Covid-19 caused so much damage to her lungs that they were no longer functional and she needed a lung transplant to live.

The woman’s husband and son offered to donate parts of their lungs. Transplants from brain-dead donors are still rare in Japan, and living donors are seen as a better option, according to the hospital statement.

Both husband and son are in stable condition and the wife remains in intensive care. She should be able to leave the hospital in about two months, according to the hospital.

In June of last year, American surgeons successfully performed a double lung transplant on a Covid-19 patient – believed to be the first such operation on a coronavirus patient in the country.
Last month, American surgeons performed a double “Covid to Covid” lung transplant, using the lungs of a donor who has recovered from Covid-19, to die of another cause, for a patient in in their 60s whose lungs were damaged by the disease.
A study published earlier this year of more than 1,700 patients treated in the Chinese city of Wuhan – the zero point of the pandemic – found that x-rays of critically ill patients showed signs of lung damage months after their infection.

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