‘Milestone’ Surgery: Health Care Worker Dying Of COVID-19 Re
Now open: Certificate Course in Management of Covid-19 by Govt. Of Gujarat and PlexusMDKnow more...Now open: Certificate Course in Management of Covid-19 by Govt. Of Gujarat and PlexusMDKnow more...
Get authentic, real-time news that helps you fight COVID-19 better.
Install PlexusMD App for doctors. It's free.
Surgeons at Northwestern Memorial Hospital last month performed the first known double lung transplant that used lungs donated from someone who recovered from COVID-19 to save another person who was dying of the disease, a surgery that the doctors called an "important milestone."

The donor's lungs came from someone who recovered from a mild case of COVID-19, but later died in an accident. The case is significant because about 30 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with the virus. Doctors expect the need for lung donations to increase due to long-term health complications.

Before the doctors decide to use a lung from a donor who had COVID-19, they screen it to make sure the virus has cleared the body and that the lungs have no significant damage caused by the virus. 20% to 30% of people who come down with the virus end up having some lung damage, including people who were asymptomatic, so the screening for the suitability of lungs is important to avoid a bad outcome.

The patient who received the lungs is an Illinois health care worker in his 60s who came down with the virus in May and was on a ventilator for several months, doctors said. He spent a week on a transplant wait-list before receiving the lung donation. Now, his new lungs are "working great" and he is on track to make a full recovery.