A woman from Japan has become the globe's first COVID-19 patient to be granted a living donor lung transplant. She was donated with lung segments from her husband and son after her organs failed due to damage caused by the novel coronavirus.

World's First Living Donor Lung Transplant

Professor Date Hiroshi, the director of the thoracic surgery department of the Kyoto University Hospital, held a news conference on Thursday with his staff members. According to the hospital, the coronavirus patient from the Kansai region underwent almost 11-hour surgery on Wednesday.

According to the hospital on Thursday, it has enacted the globe's first living donor lung transplant on a patient who lost functions of her lungs due to infection from the virus. The surgery transplanted part of healthy lungs from the patient's husband and son in place of her frail lungs, reported Kyodo News.

Although there have been 20 to 40 lung transplants in Europe, China, and the United States following infection, all cases were from brain-dead donors. According to the hospital in a news release, "The world's first living donor lung transplant is expected to be a promising treatment for patients who have serious lung disorders," reported Nikkei Asia.

In Japan, transplants from brain-dead donors remain to be rare. Living donors are regarded to be a more realistic option for patients. According to Dr. Hiroshi Date, a thoracic surgeon at the hospital who spearheaded the surgery, he believes this is a treatment that provides hope for patients with serious lung damage due to COVID-19.

Donors, who are from western Japan, are reportedly in a stable condition. Doctors stated the woman, who was hospitalized on Monday while connected to an artificial heart-lung device named extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, is currently in intensive care. She will take two months to fully recover "if all goes well," reported AA.

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The patient became infected with COVID-19 in late 2020. Following her respiratory condition's aggravation, she was placed on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, machine while she was undergoing treatment at a different Kansai hospital. 

After she was free of COVID-19, the university stated that the patient's lungs were no longer treatable or functional. The only option for her to live was to be donated a lung transplant. The operation was conducted at the hospital by a 30-member group.

The Kyoto doctors hope she will completely recover within months. Waiting lists for full lung transplants, where the lungs are provided by donors who have died, are very long in the country and elsewhere. 

The woman had developed serious pneumonia following her infection. She lost most of her lung function because of fibrosis. There was initially no prospect of recuperation.

The operation went ahead following the husband and son's acknowledgment of the risk of decreased lung capacity on their part.  There are usually limitations on who could undergo such transplants based on physical condition and age. The surgery is limited to elderly people and those with underlying illnesses in the case of COVID-19 damage. Numerous patients undergoing the same treatment for the virus tend to have underlying conditions, which may restrict the number of patients qualified for the procedure.

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