Thanh Hóa man enjoys new life after successful lung transplant

September 22, 2022 - 09:52

A middle-aged man in Thanh Hóa Province couldn’t hide his happiness as he blew out birthday candles in the shape of the number 2.


N.X.T. blows candles to celebrate his second birthday with doctors at Hà Nội's Central Lung Hospital. The patient underwent a lung transplant surgery two years ago, and leads a healthy life. — Photo

HÀ NỘI — A middle-aged man in Thanh Hóa Province couldn’t hide his happiness as he blew out birthday candles in the shape of the number 2.

This unusual birthday was celebrated by N.X.T. at the Central Lung Hospital on Tuesday.

September 20 is a special day for T, as it was two years ago he underwent surgery to receive a lung from a brain-dead donor. This is also a day he considers his second birthday, after the surgery went well.

Two years after the surgery, T lives a healthy life and is Việt Nam's most successful lung transplant patient, as he has undergone the longest survival time after transplant.

Two years ago, T suffered a prolonged cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue when doing exercises. He could only walk for five minutes and could not climb stairs.

Thinking that he had a cough caused by using tobacco, he went to the hospital, and received a diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis.

The disease got worse so quickly that he suffered respiratory failure. Đinh Văn Lượng, deputy director of the Central Lung Hospital, said that without a transplant, the patient could only live for 2-3 months.

The man was put on a waiting list for a new lung.

On September 16, 2020, the Central Lung Hospital, in cooperation with 108 Military Central Hospital, performed a transplant after receiving a lung donated by a brain-dead patient.

The surgery was successful. The patient recovered well under the attentive care of the doctors and nurses of the hospital and T was soon discharged.

Two years have passed and T’s health has improved. He can climb stairs and, every day, he helps his family with gardening work for four to five hours. Every day he walks for 30-60 minutes.

At the beginning of this year, the patient contracted COVID-19. He stayed at the provincial hospital for nine days and quickly recovered.

The patient is completely healthy with stable respiratory function.

Most successful lung transplant

Việt Nam has seen many lung transplants from brain-dead donors. However, the success rate is not high, as the patient's survival time after the transplant is not long.

Lượng said T's case is considered the most successful lung transplant ever in Việt Nam. Currently, his respiratory function indicators are similar to those of normal people.

"Patients have followed the same international standard procedure as lung transplant patients at the US-based UCSF Lung Transplant Centre, one of the largest and most reputable lung transplant centres in the US. All procedures are carried out strictly and methodically according to UCSF standards," he said.

In particular, post-transplant care for patients is also carried out following strict and standard US procedures to integrate into normal life in Việt Nam.

"This is the eighth lung transplant in Việt Nam, but this is a completely successful lung transplant," he said.

Lượng said the standard lung transplant procedure, the careful screening of transplant patients, the advanced and modern transplant techniques and good post-surgery care contributed to the success of the transplant.

Nguyễn Viết Nhung, director of the Central Lung Hospital, said lung transplants are one of the most difficult techniques in organ transplantation.

"The success of this lung transplant shows that Việt Nam has access to top techniques in the field of lung transplantation. Two years of life is neither a short nor a long time, but I believe that the patient will have many more years of a happy and healthy life,” he said.

“This creates more confidence for doctors, nurses and patients about the chances of success in the future,” he said.

Lung transplantation can be a life-saving option for patients with severe lung disease when all other treatments fail. Every year in Việt Nam, 40-50 more people are appointed for lung transplants. The survival time of these people will be shortened if there is no suitable donor organ while the source of transplant organs remains difficult. — VNS