A 31-year-old man, who had contracted COVID-19 a few months ago, has successfully undergone a lung transplant surgery, lasting 10 hours, at a private facility after the organ was transported from the city airport in a green corridor, hospital authorities said on Tuesday.
In a statement, the hospital group claimed that this was the "first" such procedure performed on a post-COVID-19 patient in north India.
The recipient, a resident of Hardoi in Uttar Pradesh, was suffering from advanced interstitial lung disease, it said.
The donated lungs were from a 49-year-old woman from Jaipur who had suffered fatal head injuries in a road accident recently.
"In these difficult times, the harvested lungs were flown down to Delhi by an Air India flight in clockwork precision. A green corridor had already been created between the private hospital and the airport at Jaipur, and then between the IGI International Airport and Max Super Speciality Hospital at Saket in Delhi. An ambulance waiting at the airport speedily transported the donor lungs through an 18.3 km stretch in a matter of just 18 minutes," the statement said.
Given the criticality of an early transplant for success, safe passage was facilitated by authorities. This ensured the retrieved lungs to be transplanted within the critical eight-hour chest to chest period, it said.
The hospital claimed that it was "for the first time in north India that doctors at the Max Super Speciality Hospital, performed a life-saving lung transplant surgery on the patient "who had developed COVID lung fibrosis (a condition that arises due to severe lung injury in COVID-19 patients causing irreversible lung dysfunction), late on November 28".
A team of 15 doctors operated through the night for 10 hours to successfully carry out the transplant, it said.
The team was led by Rahul Chandola, Associate Director, Adult CTVS, Heart & Lung Transplant Specialist, at the hospital. The 31-year-old recipient had been having breathing difficulty for the last one year and was diagnosed with lung silicosis.
He had contracted COVID infection in March that made the situation worse, and till transplant, he was on oxygen requirement that went from "nil to 15 liters/min following COVID-19 infection. He eventually worsened to a point where he needed BIPAP support intermittently," it said.