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Heart transplant for seriously ill COVID patient

Friday December 17th 2021

Surgeons have successfully performed a heart transplant on a patient seriously ill after COVID-19 infection, a European conference is to be told.

The operation took place 42 days after viral infection but the patient, a man of 31, was still on a ventilator and ECMO. The transplant team had to wear full protective equipment during the operation.

The operation, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, is being reported at Euroanaesthesia, the conference of the European Society of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care.

The patient had been diagnosed with familial inherited cardiomyopathy two years beforehand and was suffering from rapidly deteriorating health. At the time of the operation, he had a left ejection fraction of 15%, the doctors report.

At first his transplant was delayed because he was found to be infected – and he then suffered cardiogenic shock, the doctors report.

He was discharged from hospital 66 days after the procedure and lost some toes through necrosis, the doctors report.

Anaesthetist Dr Eduardo Mocsári said: “Heart transplantation after COVID-19 infection is something new and we are still learning about the risks and complications.

“In this case, the patient hadn’t fully recovered and we were concerned his COVID would worsen. Several studies have indicated that transplant patients are at greater risk of more severe COVID and of dying from the disease.

“But, as his heart was still deteriorating, we decided that the transplant gave him the best chance of survival. As this case illustrates, despite there being few reports in the literature, heart transplantation in patients who have had severe COVID-19 can have a favourable outcome.”

[Abstract]

Tags: Europe | Flu & Viruses | Heart Health | South America | Transplant

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