February 22 – A Michigan woman died after transplanting the lungs of a COVID-19 patient. Doctors said that although the donor tested negative for COVID-19, her lungs were infected with COVID-19. He called for more thorough testing of donors before transplant surgery.
According to the Huffington Post, the American Journal of Transplant published a study in early February that this is the first case of COVID-19 in the United States through an organ transplant.
“If a donor tests positive for COVID-19, we will never use their lungs for organ transplantation,” Daniel Kaur, director of the Michigan Medical Transplant Infectious Diseases Service Center and coauthor of the study, said in an interview. We have collected samples of donor throat and nasal swabs, and the results were negative.”
The donor was a woman who died of a serious brain injury in a car accident. Donors’ families told doctors that donors have not traveled recently and have no symptoms such as fever, cough, headache or diarrhea. It is not clear whether donors have been exposed to known or suspected infections.
The Michigan woman underwent a double lung transplant in fall 2019. She was a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patient who tested negative for COVID-19 hours before the transplant.
Three days after the operation, the patient developed symptoms of fever, hypotension and dyspnea, as well as infectious shock and heart function problems.
The doctor tested her for the novel coronavirus. Test results showed that the nose and throat samples were negative, but the lower respiratory tract samples were positive. Subsequently, doctors tested a sample of the donor’s lower respiratory tract, and the results were also positive.
The patient’s condition continued to deteriorate in the next few weeks, accompanied by multi-system organ failure and respiratory distress. The patient eventually died two months after the operation.
According to the report, because donors and recipients tested negative for COVID-19 before the operation, the medical staff present did not wear N95 masks and goggles.
Four days after the operation, the surgeon who participated in the lung transplant also tested positive, but he recovered in later treatment.
In 2020, nearly 40,000 transplants were performed in the United States, and such viruses rarely spread. It seems unlikely that non-lung donors will spread the virus, Kaul said.
Kaul also stressed that hospitals should test donors more thoroughly, especially in high-risk areas. Meanwhile, even if donors and recipients test negative, these healthcare workers should wear both N95 masks and goggles.