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Transplant Patient Receives COVID 19-infected Lung, Dies

An organ-transplant patient recently received a COVID-19 infected lung and died. This appears to be the first instance in the US when the virus is transmitted through a transplant.

Doctors announced that a woman in Michigan contracted coronavirus infection. She died last fall. She lived only two months after the transplant. She had received an infected double-lung transplant.

Transplant Patient Receives COVID 19-infected Lung, Dies

The donor was harbouring the virus. He had tested negative and had no symptoms. According to the Michigan Medical School University, this is the first case where a virus is transmitted through an organ transplant. One among the surgeons who handled the donor lung too got infected with COVID 19. But he recovered after some time.

Transplant Patient Receives COVID 19-infected Lung, Dies

The mishap, in fact, is the first among the almost 49000 transplants that took place in 2020. But it has a wake-up call. It has given rise to calls for a more thorough testing. They should take more samples from deep inside the donor’s lungs, from the nose and throat.

Doctors say that they would never have used the lung if they had received a positive test. The statement was published in a recent medical journal along with a report of the incident.

A woman suffering from chronic obstructive lung disease received the lungs of a woman from Upper Midwest. She had died due to brain injury from a car accident. It is at this phase that the virus got transmitted.

According to the hospital, the routine sample tests both of the donor and the recipient were negative. Both didn’t appear to carry the virus that causes COVID 19.

The hospital did everything it normally does. The recipient, however, developed fever within three days of the operation. Her blood pressure increased and breathing became difficult for her. Imaging showed lung-infection.

The patient’s condition became worse. And she suffered a septic shock and had experienced certain heart issues. At this, the doctors tested her lungs for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID 19. The results came out as positive. They suspected that the donor was the origin of the infection.

And they tested the samples from her lungs. A molecular test of the sample from the lungs and nose of the donor after two days of acquiring them came out as negative.

The family of the donor too told doctors that she had no exposure to the infection. She did not have any symptom and has no recent travel history.

The doctors, however, had stored fluid wash from deep within the lung of the donor. A test showed that the fluid contained the coronavirus.

Within four days of the surgery, the surgeon who handled the lung and did the surgery fell ill because of the infection. A genetic test revealed that he too received the infection from the donor. Ten other members of the team, however, proved to be negative for the disease.

The condition of the transplant recipient’s condition began to deteriorate. Doctors tried all the known treatments for the infection. At last, they placed him on ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation).

That too failed. They withdrew her life support. And she died within 61 days of the surgery. For doctors, the incident was a truly unfortunate one.

The mishap, according to medical circle, is the first of the kind in the country. However, reports show eight other suspected transmissions in the spring.

But they were seen as transmissions that happened in the hospital setting. Before this death, there is no clear indication of such instances in the country. This, according to doctors, happens with other lung diseases.

The case is not a surprise for medical science. But it remains unknown if the virus will be transmitted through other organs like heart or liver.

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