A 65-year-old, who had been on life support for 62 days and needed a double lung transplant, has reportedly been recovered from coronavirus. According to an international media outlet, the doctors in Wuhan, China managed to successfully treat the COVID-19 patient, Cui Zhiqiang whose condition was so serious that he needed a double lung transplant. After being on life support for nearly 62 days, Cui has now become China’s longest surviving patient to be supported by an artificial lung machine.
Cui was hooked up to the life support between February 18 and April 22 at the Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University. As per reports, he started showing coronavirus symptoms in mid-January and the doctors confirmed that he was contracted with the deadly disease on February 7. Cui’s condition started to get worse after which he was put on a ventilator. Soon after, the 65-year-old was put on the ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) artificial lung machine.
With the worsening condition, the doctors suggested Cui undergo a double lung transplant. While speaking to an international media outlet, the doctors said that although Cui had recovered from the deadly virus, the damage to his lungs meant he could not breathe on his own. Doctors reportedly said that he had developed severe pulmonary fibrosis, which is damage and scarring of lung tissue due to disease. When the doctors felt that his only chance of survival was the double lung transplant, a set of the compatible vital organs were flown to Wuhan from Yunnan province in south-western China. Mid- April, the 65-year-old was reportedly transferred to a negative pressure operating theatre and the doctors performed a six-hour double lung transplant.
The head of the cardiothoracic surgeon Lin Huiqing reportedly said that end-stage COVID-19 lung transplant is very high-risk. He explained that throughout the treatment, health workers who took part in the surgery were basically unable to communicate with words because of the positive-pressure headgear they were wearing. Lin said that the doctors relied on chemistry and experience to complete the procedure.
Furthermore, Lin added that the procedure was an ‘extreme challenge’ both in terms of the precision required and the psychological stress. However, Lin said that two days after the treatment, Cui’s life support was turned off and it was removed for the first time in 62 days. Lin informed that Cui is conscious again, however, he still can’t speak properly because of the throat damage caused by more than two months of intubation.