An active professional from Ghaziabad was amongst the small percentage of the population infected with severe COVID 19 being treated at the critical unit of Artemis Hospitals, Gurugram. With each passing day, it became difficult for him and his family as his condition started deteriorating.
He had undergone an entire plethora of management right from medicinal therapy, high oxygen demand, ventilator requirement, tracheostomy. He was initially admitted in the COVID dedicated ICU where he recovered from the acute illness after aggressive treatment and finally tested negative. Despite the best efforts over 6 weeks, it was unable to bring him out of ventilation due to severely damaged (Fibrosed) lungs as part of Post COVID 19 sequelae.
Most options for his acceptable recovery was exhausted though Dr. Shivanshu Raj Goyal was determined to explore a better solution thus with the consent of the patient’s family, Dr. Goyal and his team derived an organized plan to offer a surgical cure in the form of a Lungs Transplant. Till now this procedure was not performed in India for a post-COVID sequelae case.
The patient was on a ventilator due to high oxygen demand and the possibility of the collapse was extremely high during the transport to the transplant centre. Another big challenge was the unavailability of the donor’s lungs with a long waiting list.
“Even though there was a high risk involved in it but we wanted to leave no stone unturned to save his life. No obstacle is big enough if the determination, right team spirit, and destiny is in the favour” said Dr. Shivanshu Raj Goyal, Consultant, Respiratory/ Pulmonology & Sleep Medicine, Artemis Hospitals
“Decision of advising lung transplant was taken at the right time which resulted in transfer by air ambulance to Chennai at about 6 weeks after his initial admission,” said Dr. Reshma Tewari, Chief Critical Care Unit, Artemis Hospitals
As fate would guide, the patient was airlifted in July 2020 to a Center more than 2000 km away and upon safe arrival was put on a transplant waitlist. Specialized technique ECMO was used by the transplant team to oxygenate the patient for 33 days. After the wait of over a month, finally, two matched and healthy lungs were available. On 27th August 2020, he had undergone India’s first sequential bilateral lung transplant successfully, opening a ray of hope to many patients whose lungs have undergone irreversible changes secondary to COVID 19.
“We are grateful to the Artemis Hospitals and doctors who guided us with the right decision and helped us in facilitating this transplant,” said Yash Verma, son of the patient.
This marks a first of such kind procedure to date reported from any part of Asia.