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Coronavirus Patient On Life Support For 62 Days Recovers After Double Lung Transplant

Coronavirus Patient On Life Support For 62 Days Recovers After Double Lung Transplant

Doctors in Wuhan have managed to successfully treat a COVID-19 patient whose condition was so serious, he needed a double lung transplant.

He's now been taken off life support after a record setting 62 days.

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Cui Zhiqiang, 65, is now China's longest surviving patient to be supported by an artificial lung machine after he was hooked up to the life support between 18 February and 22 April, as announced b Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University announced today (6 May).

Credit: AsiaWire
Credit: AsiaWire

Mr Cui had started showing coronavirus symptoms on 23 January and was confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 on 7 February.

His condition got worse and on 17 February, he was put on a ventilator at Wuhan Red Cross Hospital, in the capital of Hubei Province in Central China.

He was put on the ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) artificial lung machine the next day.

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Sadly, his condition carried on getting worse, and he was then transferred to the east branch of Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University on 18 March.

Although repeated COVID-19 tests confirmed that Mr Cui had recovered from the virus, the damage to his lungs meant he could not breathe on his own. He had developed severe pulmonary fibrosis - damage and scarring of lung tissue due to disease.

The man's only chance of survival was to undergo a double lung transplant. A set of the compatible vital organs were flown to Wuhan from Yunnan Province in south-western China.

On 20 April, Mr Cui was transferred to a negative pressure operating theatre, where medics in full hazmat gear performed a six-hour double lung transplant.

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Credit: Asia Wire
Credit: Asia Wire

Head cardiothoracic surgeon Lin Huiqing said: "End-stage COVID-19 lung transplants are very high risk.

"Health workers who took part in the surgery were basically unable to communicate with words because of the positive-pressure headgear we were wearing.

"We relied fully on chemistry and experience to complete the procedure.

"It was an extreme challenge both in terms of the precision required and the psychological stress we were under."

On 22 April, almost two days after Mr Cui's life support was turned off, it was removed for the first time in 62 days.

He was then fully conscious again two days later. He couldn't speak properly because of the throat damage caused by more than two months of intubation.

Hospital director Wang Gaohua said Mr Cui is Hubei's first patient to receive a lung transplant for end-stage pulmonary fibrosis following a recovery from COVID-19.

Mr Wang said: "His muscles had basically atrophied due to his being bedbound for such a long period of time."

Mr Cui is now receiving physiotherapy to retrain his limbs.

According to reports, Mr Cui was able to sit up and move his arms and legs by Monday 4 May.

He was also able to drink, swallow, cough and vocalise.

He will begin eating by himself today and breathe without oxygen support, but it will be a long period of recovery before he can be discharged, the hospital said.

Featured Image Credit: Asia Wire

Topics: World News

Amelia Ward

Amelia is a journalist at LADbible. After studying journalism at Liverpool John Moores and Salford Uni (don't ask), she went into PR and then the world of music. After a few years working on festivals and events, she went back to her roots. In her spare time, Amelia likes music, Liverpool FC, and spending good, quality time with her cat, Paul. You can contact Amelia at [email protected]