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Chin Med J (Engl) ; 133(12): 1390-1396, 2020 Jun 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1050186


BACKGROUND: Critical patients with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), even those whose nucleic acid test results had turned negative and those receiving maximal medical support, have been noted to progress to irreversible fatal respiratory failure. Lung transplantation (LT) as the sole therapy for end-stage pulmonary fibrosis related to acute respiratory distress syndrome has been considered as the ultimate rescue therapy for these patients. METHODS: From February 10 to March 10, 2020, three male patients were urgently assessed and listed for transplantation. After conducting a full ethical review and after obtaining assent from the family of the patients, we performed three LT procedures for COVID-19 patients with illness durations of more than one month and extremely high sequential organ failure assessment scores. RESULTS: Two of the three recipients survived post-LT and started participating in a rehabilitation program. Pearls of the LT team collaboration and perioperative logistics were summarized and continually improved. The pathological results of the explanted lungs were concordant with the critical clinical manifestation, and provided insight towards better understanding of the disease. Government health affair systems, virology detection tools, and modern communication technology all play key roles towards the survival of the patients and their rehabilitation. CONCLUSIONS: LT can be performed in end-stage patients with respiratory failure due to COVID-19-related pulmonary fibrosis. If confirmed positive-turned-negative virology status without organ dysfunction that could contraindicate LT, LT provided the final option for these patients to avoid certain death, with proper protection of transplant surgeons and medical staffs. By ensuring instant seamless care for both patients and medical teams, the goal of reducing the mortality rate and salvaging the lives of patients with COVID-19 can be attained.

Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Lung Transplantation/methods , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Pulmonary Fibrosis/surgery , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/surgery , Aged , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/mortality , Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/mortality , Pulmonary Fibrosis/mortality , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/mortality , SARS-CoV-2