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Doctors of Chennai Hospital Perform Asia’s First Bilateral Lung-transplant on a Covid Positive Patient

MGM Healthcare, a multi-specialty quaternary care hospital of Chennai has become the third hospital in the world that recently did a successful bilateral lung transplant on a COVID-19 positive patient. While the surgery was critical, it is considered to be Asia’s first known lung transplant on a covid patient, especially during the lockdown.

Led by Dr. K. R. Balakrishnan, Chairman & Director of Cardiac Sciences and Director of the Heart and Lung Transplant Program at MGM Healthcare, and his team of transplant specialists including Dr. Suresh Rao, Dr. Srinath and Dr Apar Jindal, this complicated transplant was performed on a 48-year-old citizen of New Delhi. His lungs were severely damaged due to COVID-19 related fibrosis, post developing it a couple of months ago when he was detected positive and was treated for the same. As he became breathless and oxygen saturation came down he was put on ventilatory support towards June end. byt the condition worsened, and he was to be airlifted to MGM Healthcare from Ghaziabad in July. 

Commenting on the procedure, Dr. K. R. Balakrishnan said, “We were initially in a dilemma when his case was referred to us. But as doctors, we are taught to prioritise the patient’s overall health over anything else. Keeping this in mind, we decided to proceed with the surgery. We are happy for the patient as the transplanted lungs are working well.”

Dr. Suresh Rao, Co-Director, Institute of Heart & Lung Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support added, “as the patient’s both transplanted lungs were working well, we removed the ECMO support.  Now his clinical condition is stable.  At the same time, we accepted the heart from the same donor to another patient who was waiting for a heart transplant, thereby giving a new lease of life to two people”.

“While the lockdown and the phased unlocks are a much-needed moves to limit the community’s chance of exposure to the virus, MGM believes that healthcaring must go on. It’s indeed a proud moment for MGM Healthcare, the long distance travel that the patient and his family decided to undertake despite the limitations is testimony to our expertise when it comes to transplants, ” summed Dr. Rajagopalan.

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