Vietnam considers lung transplant for British Covid-19 patient

By Le Nga   May 7, 2020 | 10:50 pm PT
Vietnam considers lung transplant for British Covid-19 patient
A medical staff works in a laboratory that examines samples for Covid-19 testing at HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases, April 10, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
The Health Ministry is considering a lung transplant for a 43-year-old British Covid-19 patient who has been critically ill for some time.

"Patient 91," a Vietnam Airlines pilot, has been hospitalized at HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases since March 20.

"We are considering the option of performing a lung transplant for the patient," Professor Nguyen Van Kinh, Chairman of the Professional Council under the Ministry of Health, said at a Thursday meeting with international organizations on a new Covid-19 treatment and testing strategy.

Kinh said the British patient was still in critical condition. Both of his lungs are condensed, his liver enzymes and infections have increased. He is currently being treated with antibiotics and dialysis. The pilot has been put on a life support machine called Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), which involves pumping blood out of the body and to a heart-lung machine that removes carbon dioxide and sends oxygen-filled blood back, for 32 days.

Samples taken from his pancreas came out positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday, while samples taken from his blood and bronchial lavage showed negative results. The patient had tested negative five times earlier.

The patient, who weighs 100 kg and 1.83 meters tall, is obese with a body mass index (BMI) of 30.1. He suffers from a blood clotting disorder and cytokine storm syndrome, an intense immune response where the immune system releases a lot of cytokines through the bloodstream which works against the body.

The patient’s body has been resistant to all types of domestic coagulant drugs and the health ministry has had to purchase drugs overseas for his treatment.

Two other Covid-19 patients in critical condition have shown progress.

"Patient 20" no longer needs the support of ECMO or as much support of a ventilator as before. She can talk and eat and drink normally. She is currently going through rehabilitation and a nutrition boost regiment.

The 64-year-old Vietnamese woman is the aunt of 26-year-old Nguyen Hong Nhung, Hanoi's first Covid-19 patient who landed March 2 in Hanoi from London. She was confirmed infected on March 7, one day after her niece who has recovered and been discharged.

"Patient 161" has recovered from the disease and returned to Hanoi’s Bach Mai hospital to resume physical therapy for her stroke, which she got before contracting the coronavirus.

The 88-year-old woman, Vietnam’s oldest Covid-19 patient, is from Van Lam District in the northern province of Hung Yen.  She suffered a stroke on March 17 and was paralyzed in the left side of the body. She was rushed to the local Pho Noi Hospital where she was diagnosed with a brain hemorrhage. She was then taken to Bach Mai Hospital, where she stayed in the same room with a Covid-19 patient from March 17 to 22. She later tested positive for Covid-19 at the hospital which had become the country’s biggest Covid-19 hotspot.

Vietnam has recorded no Covid-19 deaths to date. The country has gone through 22 days without community transmission of the disease. Its Covid-19 count went up to 288 Thursday evening after 17 Vietnamese repatriated from the UAE tested positive.

The latest patients were among 297 Vietnamese repatriated from the UAE last Sunday. They landed at the Can Tho Airport in the Mekong Delta and were quarantined in nearby Bac Lieu Province.

go to top