Covid-19: Double-Lung Transplants on the Rise Among Covid Sufferers

Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Covid-19: Double-Lung Transplants on the Rise Among Covid Sufferers” – below is their description.

Hospitals across the U.S. have reported a rise in lung transplants for severe coronavirus cases, the Cleveland Clinic said last week. The grueling surgery may be the only solution for patients who experience a life-threatening constellation of lung damage inflicted by the virus, a hyper-inflammatory immune response to it, and the body’s failure to properly repair the injury.

John Micklus’s battle with Covid-19 began last Christmas and ended five weeks later with lungs so damaged that doctors said there was nothing they could do to save him.

“The doctor’s recommendation was to get my affairs in order,” Micklus said. The 62-year-old called his wife from his hospital bed in southern Maryland. She, in turn, desperately called several physicians, and eventually learned of one last option: A double-lung transplant.

Micklus was transferred to the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, where a rigorous assessment qualified him to receive lungs from a matched donor days later. He was discharged from the hospital on March 30, marking the center’s second successful lung transplant in a Covid survivor.

All of that can cause the deposition of yellow fibrotic scar tissue, creating a “honeycomb change” that makes the lungs completely solid, said David Kleiner, who heads autopsy pathology in the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

The process irreversibly destroys the tiny grape-like air sacs through which gas is exchanged in the lungs, Kleiner said in a lecture on Covid autopsies in July. “Patients really only survive to that fibrotic stage if they are intubated,” he said, adding that the harmful scarring can occur within a couple of weeks of lung injury.

Such cases have led to lung transplants around the world, according to a study in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal last month, highlighting yet another dimension of the pandemic’s burden on both survivors and health-care resources.

In patients who can’t be weaned from a ventilator or an artificial lung that oxygenates blood, a donor organ may be the only life-saving option, according to doctors at Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where the first double-lung transplant in a Covid case in the U.S. took place in June 2020. It’s done 18 more since, and has at least five patients waiting for donor organs, Ankit Bharat, the hospital’s chief of thoracic surgery and surgical director of lung transplantation, said in the Journal of the American Medical Association Thursday.

“We are seeing a significant surge in patients who recovered from moderate to severe Covid and are now coming to the outpatient setting with progressive oxygen requirements and pulmonary fibrosis,” Bharat said.

For Covid patients needing a lung transplant, timing is important. If they’re done too early, there’s a risk that the patient hasn’t cleared the coronavirus infection, said Robert Reed, associate medical director of the lung transplant program at the University of Maryland Medical Center, who helped care for Micklus.

You also “can’t do it too late, because at that point, patients may be so weak they cannot survive the operation and meaningfully participate in rehabilitation,” Reed said.

Reed, who is also a professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of Maryland, said transplant surgery shouldn’t be seen as a way to speed up post-Covid recovery. Lung recipients need to take more than a dozen medications for the rest of their lives to prevent organ rejection and infections, and many of the drugs come with toxic side effects.

“You would probably rather have a long run of slow rehab and have your own lungs in there than to get a transplant,” Reed said in an interview over Zoom. “But for people that are likely going to die in two years and for people who are essentially crippled by their lungs, it can be just amazing.”

Micklus wants others suffering end-stage lung damage caused by Covid-19 to know that lung transplants may offer hope. “It’s tough to do,” he said, choking back tears. “It’s physically, emotionally draining, but it’s an opportunity to live again.”

Bloomberg Quicktake: Now YouTube Channel

Got a comment? Leave your thoughts in the comments section, below. Please note comments are moderated before publication.

About This Source - Bloomberg QuickTake: Now

Bloomberg L.P. is a privately held financial, software, data, and media company headquartered in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.

It was founded by Michael Bloomberg in 1981, with the help of Thomas Secunda, Duncan MacMillan, Charles Zegar, and a 12% ownership investment by Merrill Lynch.

Recent from Bloomberg QuickTake: Now:

Why to Watch Fed Balance Sheet Moves Closely

Odinga Rejects Kenya Election Outcome, Plans Legal Challenge

What’s Driving Japan’s Demand for US Debt?

In This Story: COVID-19

Covid-19 is the official WHO name given to the novel coronavirus which broke out in late 2019 and began to spread in the early months of 2020.

Symptoms of coronavirus

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a persistent new cough (non productive, dry)
  • a high temperature (e.g. head feels warm to the touch)
  • shortness of breath (if this is abnormal for the individual, or increased)

Latest News about Covid-19

Below are stories from around the globe related to the 2020 outbreak of novel Coronavirus – since the WHO gave the Covid-19 naming. Most recent items are posted nearest the top.

5 Recent Items: COVID-19

Dr Andrew Old Covid-19 and winter response update |

LIVE: Stock Market Coverage – Wednesday August 17 Yahoo Finance

Doctor on back-to-school safety as coronavirus variants, monkeypox spread

Mark Steyn speaks to relative of a vax victim | Father-of-two diagnosed with VITT after Covid jab

What you need to know about COVID and preeclampsia

In This Story: Zoom

Zoom is a videotelephony proprietary software program developed by Zoom Video Communications. The free plan provides a video chatting service that allows up to 100 concurrent participants, with a 40-minute time restriction. Users have the option to upgrade by subscribing to a paid plan.

2 Recent Items: Zoom

Zoom stock slides after Citi downgrades shares

EXCLUSIVE CLIP: Mikel Arteta’s Post-COVID Team Talk Via Zoom | All or Nothing: Arsenal

Leave a Comment

We don't require your email address, or your name, for anyone to leave a comment. If you do add an email address, you may be notified if there are replies to your comment - we won't use it for any other purpose. Please make respectful comments, which add value, and avoid personal attacks on others. Links are not allowed in comments - 99% of spam comments, attempt to post links. Please describe where people may find additional information - for example "visit the UN website" or "search Google for..." rather than posting a link. Comments failing to adhere to these guidelines will not be published.