A 20-year-old woman whose lungs were totally destroyed by the coronavirus has been thrown a lifeline thanks to an incredible 10-hour operation.
Inflammation from the disease had left both the Chicago woman’s lungs “completely plastered to tissue around them, the heart, the chest wall and diaphragm”, the New York Times reported.
However, surgeons managed transplant both of the decimated lungs over an arduous 10-hour procedure, in the first known lung transplant in the United States for Covid-19.
An X-Ray showing the woman’s damaged lungs.
She is now smiling and FaceTiming her family in bed, but Dr. Ankit Bharat, the chief of thoracic surgery and surgical director of the lung transplant program at Northwestern Medicine, says she still has a long way to go.
He also added that while the success of the surgery offered hope to other’s suffering from the virus, lung transplants can only help a select range of people.
The operation took ten hours to complete.
“We are talking about patients who are relatively young, very functional, with minimal to no comorbid conditions, with permanent lung damage who can’t get off the ventilator.”
For those patients, he said, the news of a successful transplant “absolutely could start something”.
Pictures by Northwestern Medicine