- Title: South Korean COVID-19 patient recovering after double lung transplant
- Date: 6th July 2020
- Summary: ANYANG, SOUTH KOREA (JULY 3, 2020) (REUTERS) SOUTH KOREAN PATIENT RECOVERING FROM COVID-19 AFTER LUNG TRANSPLANT SURGERY WHO DECLINED TO BE IDENTIFIED, LYING IN BED, AS SEEN FROM GLASS DOORS OF ISOLATION CHAMBER/ MEDICAL STAFF CARING FOR PATIENT VARIOUS OF PATIENT LYING IN HOSPITAL BED AS SEEN FROM GLASS DOORS OF ISOLATION CHAMBER MONITOR SHOWING PATIENT'S VITAL SIGNS PATIENT'S NECK HOOKED UP TO TUBE ECMO MACHINE HOOKED UP TO PATIENT NEXT TO PATIENT'S BED HEAD NURSE OF EXTRACORPOREAL MEMBRANE OXYGENATION (ECMO) PROGRAMME AT HALLYM UNIVERSITY SACRED HEART HOSPITAL, LEE SUN-HEE, CHECKING MACHINE TUBES IN ECMO MACHINE CONTAINING BLOOD (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) HEAD NURSE OF ECMO PROGRAMME AT HALLYM UNIVERSITY SACRED HEART HOSPITAL, LEE SUN-HEE, SAYING: "She told us, 'I am grateful for the sunshine, for the moonlight. I am so grateful that I am breathing.'"
- Embargoed: 20th July 2020 14:40
- Keywords: COVID-19 South Korea coronavirus doctor hospital interview lung nurse patient recovery surgery transplant
- Location: ANYANG, SOUTH KOREA
- City: ANYANG, SOUTH KOREA
- Country: South Korea
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA001CLT6GXZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:After a record 112 days on a specialised life-support system, a South Korean COVID-19 patient is recovering from double lung transplant surgery, doctors say, in only the ninth such procedure worldwide since the coronavirus outbreak began.
The 50-year-old woman was diagnosed with the disease and hospitalised in late February and then spent 16 weeks on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) support, which involves circulating a patient's blood through a machine that adds oxygen to red blood cells.
Her doctors claim it's the longest period of time that any COVID-19 patient in the world has spent on ECMO support.
Various drugs such as the anti-malarial hydroxychloroquine, the HIV treatment Kaletra and steroids failed to stop her pulmonary fibrosis - scarring in the lungs - from worsening, said Dr Park Sung-hoon, professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital.
That left few options other than a lung transplant.
"The probability of success in lung transplants on ECMO patients is 50%, and fortunately, our patient was well prepared before the surgery when we found the donor," said Dr Kim Hyoung-soo, director of the hospital's ECMO programme, who was in charge of the surgery.
The patient declined to be identified or interviewed.
The doctors who conducted the eight-hour surgery described her destroyed lungs as hard like rock.
ECMO is typically used on patients who need more help than ventilators can provide, and who are considered to have a 90% chance of dying. Half of patients recover in two to three weeks on ECMO, and a lung transplant is considered for those who don't, Kim said.
The surgery was the ninth after six similar surgeries in China, and one each in the United States and Australia, the hospital said.
Lung transplants are less common that other transplants in South Korea, with 92 of them in 2018, compared with 2,108 kidney and 176 heart transplants, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Doctors said she would be discharged when her chest muscles are strong enough to support her breathing.
(Production: Daewoung Kim, Dogyun Kim, Minwoo Park, Heejung Jung)
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