Lung Damage in a patient with COVID-19

Case Report

A 20 years old woman whose lungs were destroyed by the coronavirus received a double lung transplant last week at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

She was ill for about two weeks before being admitted to the hospital on April 26. She soon needed a ventilator. Her condition kept worsening, and doctors connected her to a machine that pumps oxygen directly into the bloodstream.

Click to zoomOne of the lungs removed from the patient. The surgeon said the damage was among the worst he’d seen.Credit…Northwestern Medicine.

The 10-hour surgery was more difficult and took several hours longer than most lung transplants because inflammation from the disease had left the woman’s lungs “completely plastered to tissue around them, the heart, the chest wall and diaphragm,” said Dr. Ankit Bharat.

An X-ray of the patient’s lungs before the transplant, showing severe damage.Credit…Northwestern Medicine

The surgery went well, but she is still on a ventilator because even though the transplanted lungs are healthy, her long illness has left her chest muscles too weak for breathing, and it will take time for her strength to return.

Credit: Denise Grady, nytimes