Thursday, August 13 2020


No new community cases in VN for 24 days, leading doctors discuss lung transplant for British pilot

Update: May, 10/2020 - 18:54
Doctors from four leading hospitals across Việt Nam attended the consultation meeting Sunday morning. — Photo

HÀ NỘI — No new COVID-19 cases were reported in Việt Nam on Sunday afternoon, marking 24 days without community transmission in the country, according to the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

The country’s tally remains at 288, 148 out of which were imported cases that have been quarantined upon arrival.

A total of 11,130 people, who either returned from abroad or have come into close contact with confirmed cases, are being quarantined and have their health closely observed.

A total of 241 patients have recovered, six patients have tested negative once for SARS-CoV-2, while another 14 cases tested negative more than twice for the virus.

Việt Nam continues to record no deaths from COVID-19 since the first case was reported in the country on January 23.

Meanwhile, a British pilot remains in critical condition while leading Vietnamese doctors from top hospitals in the country held a telemedicine conference on Sunday morning to find optimal ways to conduct a lung transplant for the patient.

The 43-year-old male patient remains the most difficult COVID-19 case in Việt Nam, with a complicated disease progression since he was hospitalised in mid-March at HCM City Hospital for Tropical Diseases. He tested negative for the coronavirus many times during treatment duration only to relapse again a few days later.

The doctors noted that the patient is 1.83m tall and weighs 100kg, resulting in a body mass index (BMI) of 30.1, i.e. slightly obese, which might be a considerable risk factor for severe COVID-19 according to international studies.

The patient constantly suffers from high fever, respiratory problems, and recently, serious blood clots and multiple organ failures due to "cytokine storm" syndrome – an over-reactive immune response where the immune system starts attacking even healthy cells and organs besides the infected part.

The patient was also resistant to all of the coagulant drugs currently being used in the country, and the Vietnamese Ministry of Health had to order rare drugs from abroad for his treatment.

X-ray scans show extensive damage on both sides of the patient’s lungs.

During 53 days in treatment, he needed to be placed on ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) for 34 days and currently cannot breathe unassisted.

The latest nasal swab on Saturday morning showed the patient remained positive for SARS-CoV-2 after five consecutive tests were negative in previous days.

The telehealth conference drew the participation of leading Vietnamese doctors, including Professor Nguyễn Gia Bình, an expert on intensive care, Professor Trần Bình Giang, director of Việt Nam-Germany Friendship Hospital, and Professor Nguyễn Hữu Ước, an expert on heart and lung transplants also from the hospital.

Lương Ngọc Khuê, head of the Department of Medical Examination and Treatment under the Ministry of Health, said that the professional consultation discussed the patient’s situation, set out criteria for an appropriate lung to be transplanted, and prepared for surgery as soon as the conditions are met.

Khuê said that due to the patient’s weight, finding a suitable organ is not easy, as the difference between the height and weight of the donor and the recipient, or the size of the donated organ with the original counterpart should not exceed 20 per cent, not to mention immunity or other biochemical factors.

The Ministry of Health assigned the Việt Nam National Coordinating Centre for Human Organ Transplantation to act as the focal point for the whole transplant operation, acting in collaboration with 103 Hospital, 108 Hospital, and Việt Nam-Germany Hospital – medical facilities that have successfully performed lung transplants on either live or dead donors, as well as Chợ Rẫy Hospital, HCM City Hospital for Tropical Diseases and the Central Lung Hospital.

The patient is recommended by the experts to be moved to Chợ Rẫy Hospital for further intensive care and potential transplant operation.

Khuê told Tuổi trẻ (Youth) newspaper that the Vietnamese Government is currently covering the treatment costs and will soon speak with the British embassy in Việt Nam on the issue.

The newspaper estimated that the treatment costs for the British pilot since the day of hospitalisation has now totalled nearly VNĐ5 billion (US$216,400).

Regarding Patient 19, another critical case under treatment at the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hà Nội, the treatment subcommittee of the National Steering Committee said that the patient is being placed on non-invasive oxygen ventilator and shows encouraging signs of progress.

She is not suffering from fever, while blood pressure remains stable. She can converse well with doctors and nurses, can eat meals and drink water on her own.

Patient 19 is the one undergoing the longest treatment in Việt Nam since she was admitted to the hospital on March 3. During more than two months of treatment, her condition has at multiple times declined into a critical state. Medical reports said her cardiovascular activities nearly came to a complete halt three times and she needed to be put on ECMO for survival.

However, thanks to the frequent consultations from the leading doctors all over the country and the attentive care from the Tropical Hospital’s medical staff, she has overcome the critical state and is well on the path to recovery. — VNS

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