Critically-ill COVID-19 patient's lung function improves, transplant being considered

Update: May, 19/2020 - 19:16


HCM City’s Hospital for Tropical Diseases where the patient is being treated. Photo


HÀ NỘI — The second computed tomography (CT) scan of the critically-ill British pilot, Việt Nam’s 91st COVID-19 patient, showed positive improvements, said Dr Nguyễn Văn Vĩnh Châu, director of HCM City’s Hospital for Tropical Diseases.

“About 20 to 30 per cent of his lungs have recovered, which gives us faint hope,” he told Zing news on Tuesday.

The patient still has to depend completely on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO). Without the support, he will die. If his lungs do not recover, the only way to save him is a lung transplant, Châu said.

Doctors need to assess his brain, heart and kidneys and make preparations three to five days before the transplant, he said.

The health’s ministry medical council and leading health experts met on Tuesday to discuss the lung transplant plan for the pilot.

According to HCM City’s health department on Tuesday, the patient is still in a critical condition and on a ventilator although his fever has eased.

He has been on life support for 26 consecutive days and on ECMO for 43 days.

The 45-year-old patient has undergone two CT scans, one on Monday and another on May 13.

The first CT scan images on May 13 showed severe solidification and fibrosis of the lungs, making it difficult for oxygen to get into the patient’s blood. Only 10 per cent of his lungs were working.

The patient was hospitalised on March 18. During two months of treatment, his condition has fluctuated with several changes in COVID-19 testing results.

According to the National Co-ordination Centre for Human Organ Transplantation, as of May 15 morning, 40 people had registered to donate lung lobes to the patient. The youngest donor is 35 years old. None of them have a relationship with the pilot.

Nguyễn Hoàng Phúc, the centre’s deputy director, said the first option for the British pilot’s lung transplant was to seek the lungs of brain-dead donors and a donation from a living person would be considered if this proves impossible.

The Việt Nam-Germany Hospital and the National Co-ordination Centre for Human Organ Transplantation have been assigned to look for lung donation sources.

To prepare for the transplant, HCM City’s Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Chợ Rẫy Hospital and the medical council of the health ministry are holding meetings to assess the lung damage and infection levels of the patient. — VNS



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