Doctors say the untimely death of a Michigan woman last fall was caused by COVID-19, which unknowingly spread through a double lung transplant. Possibly the first open case of covid-19 linked to transplantation. Another doctor contracted viral illness during the procedure but survived.

Tragic case of the woman detailed in a report published By doctors at the University of Michigan School of Medicine earlier this month in the American Journal of Transplantation. According to the report, the woman needed a transplant due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Her donor was a woman who recently died of severe brain injury in a car accident. Standard screening, including nose and throat swab test for coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in the donor and recipient, nothing unusual emerged, and the procedure seemed to go on without a hitch.

However, three days after the transplant, the recipient had a fever and began to have difficulty breathing. A nasal swab test initially did not show signs of the coronavirus, but clearly had pneumonia, and then a direct test in his lungs was positive for the virus. Over the next two months, the woman’s condition worsened and she developed septic shock. Although it is finished The woman succumbed to her illness 61 days after transplant, with antivirals, healing plasma, and ECMO (a last-resort medical device that captures the heart and lungs).

The donor had no history of recent exposure to coronavirus or covid-19 symptoms prior to his death, along with a negative nasal swab test. However, the doctors had kept a sample of fluid collected from their lungs, and when they tested the recipient after they got sick, it turned out positive. The genetic sequencing of the virus found in both the donor and the recipient showed that they were nearly identical, effectively proving that the recipient’s infection came from defective lungs. A third person, one of the female surgeons dealing with the lungs, fell ill and was tested positive for the virus shortly after the procedure and this infection was traced back to the donated lungs. However, the surgeon recovered and no other members of the transplant team were affected.

There have been other cases of covid-19 suspected of spreading through transplantation, but this is thought to be the first known case to show transmission using genetic sequencing. Despite the tragedy of this death, it could still be an incredibly rare risk. The same month, scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention he looked He was included in eight suspected cases of covid-19 linked to organ donation documented between March and May 2020. As a result, they concluded that the most likely source of transmission in these cases was ‘community or healthcare exposure, not organ donor’.

In rare cases, Michigan doctors think more can be done to ensure the safety of organ recipients and doctors during this time, especially when the lungs are transplanted.

“Transplant centers and organ supply organizations should do the SARS-CoV-2 test of lower respiratory tract samples from potential lung donors and consider advanced personal protective equipment for healthcare workers involved in lung supply and transplant,” they wrote.