Transplant

A Covid Patient Goes Home After a Rare Double Lung Transplant

The last thing that Mayra Ramirez remembers from the emergency room at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago is calling her family to say she had Covid, was about to be put on a ventilator and needed her mother to make medical decisions for her.

Ms. Ramirez, 28, did not wake up for more than six weeks. And then she learned that on June 5, she had become the first Covid patient in the United States to receive a double-lung transplant.

On Wednesday, she went home from the hospital.

Ms. Ramirez is one of a small but growing number of patients whose lungs have been destroyed by the coronavirus, and whose only hope of survival is a lung transplant.

“I’m pretty sure that if I had been at another center, they would have just ended care and let me die,” she said in an interview on Wednesday.

The surgery is considered

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In Astounding Test, Scientists Revive Damaged Lungs for Transplant

With this method, they have successfully revived and transplanted 600 lungs in the past decade, said Dr. Marcelo Cypel, a lung transplant surgeon at the University of Toronto. But there are limitations: Lungs can be maintained this way only for hours, not days. And few lungs can be rescued.

“If you have more time, you have more time to repair the injuries,” Dr. Cypel said. “You can’t reverse a pneumonia in just four or six hours. But if you keep the lung for a few days, you can.”

So Dr. Vunjak-Novakovic and her group decided that instead of making new lungs, they might improve on this method. It was becoming clear that, to recover, lungs needed not just a ventilator but also body — to remove metabolic wastes, and to deliver the energy needed keep the organ alive and restore it to health.

The solution? A pig to support the

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Covid-19 Patient Gets Double Lung Transplant, Offering Hope for Others

A young woman whose lungs were destroyed by the coronavirus received a double lung transplant last week at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, the hospital reported on Thursday, the first known lung transplant in the United States for Covid-19.

The 10-hour surgery was more difficult and took several hours longer than most lung transplants because inflammation from the disease had left the woman’s lungs “completely plastered to tissue around them, the heart, the chest wall and diaphragm,” said Dr. Ankit Bharat, the chief of thoracic surgery and surgical director of the lung transplant program at Northwestern Medicine, which includes Northwestern Memorial Hospital, in an interview.

He said the patient, a woman in her 20s who had no serious underlying medical conditions, was recovering well: “She’s awake, she’s smiling, she FaceTimed with her family.”

But she has a long way to go. She is still on a ventilator because even though

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