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Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation ; 41(4):S433-S434, 2022.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-1849175
The Journal of heart and lung transplantation : the official publication of the International Society for Heart Transplantation ; 41(4):S433-S434, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1782175


Introduction Lung transplantation (LTx) is lifesaving for patients with irreversible lung injury due to COVID-19;however, all viable virus must be cleared before transplant. Prolonged viral shedding is common, particularly among immunosuppressed patients. Thus, ongoing detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA may delay transplant and prolong hospitalization. We report a case of an LTx recipient who developed COVID-19-associated lung injury with prolonged viral shedding that persisted following redo LTx. Case Report A 48-year-old man developed COVID-19 17 months after bilateral LTx. His illness rapidly progressed to hypoxemic respiratory failure requiring bilevel ventilation and prone positioning. He was treated with corticosteroids, remdesevir, convalescent plasma, anticoagulation, and reduced immunosuppression. Tocilizumab was not administered as data supporting its use was unavailable. Despite aggressive therapy, he remained hypoxemic and developed radiographic evidence of pulmonary fibrosis. SARS-CoV-2 was persistently isolated between November 2020 and April 2021;the PCR cycle threshold in March 2021 was 32, indicating a low level of viral RNA. There was no evidence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. Finally, after 2 negative nasopharyngeal swabs in April, he underwent redo bilateral LTx in May 2021, 163 days after his initial diagnosis. Postoperative critical illness myopathy required prolonged mechanical ventilation, nutrition via a feeding tube, and 19 days at an acute rehabilitation center. Routine surveillance bronchoscopy 40 days after retransplant revealed SARS-CoV-2 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and again in a nasal wash sample. He had no COVID-19 symptoms at the time of viral isolation, and inflammatory markers were normal. He was empirically treated with casirivimab and imdevimab, with resolution of SARS-CoV-2 isolation 8 days later. Summary Prolonged viral shedding is common in immunocompromised patients with COVID-19;however, ongoing viral isolation is not a reliable indicator of active viral replication and transmissibility. Our patient had persistent SARS-CoV-2 isolation after redo LTx with no evidence of COVID-19 or allograft injury. Thus, persistent viral shedding alone may not be an absolute contraindication to LTx and additional factors such as PCR cycle threshold and time from original infection should be considered.