An American from Michigan died after receiving a lung transplant infected with SARS-CoV-2, this being the first case of proven transmission from donor to recipient.
As he advanced on Monday, IFL Science, a case report – released by American Journal of Transplantation – showed that despite the negative organ exams, the woman tested positive for covid-19 three days after the transplant. One of the surgeons who participated in the intervention was also infected, but has since recovered.
These incidents, read in the article, are extremely rare, with transmission of infections from donor to recipient occurring in less than 1% of all transplants.
The American, who had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and was on assisted ventilation, was medicated with methylprednisolone to prevent organ rejection. He received the lungs of another woman, who died in a car accident. A test for covid-19 showed no signs of infection, nor had covid symptoms reported before death.
Two days after the transplant, doctors noticed that the patient had a low cardiac index (a measure of the heart’s performance in relation to body size), developing fever on the third day. After the samples were sent for testing, the woman tested positive for covid-19.
Despite attempts to fight the virus, the woman continued to get worse and, 61 days after the transplant, died of multiple organ failure and difficulty breathing.
Although this is the first case of its kind, the authors claim that one test may not be enough to ensure that the organs are completely free of SARS-CoV-2, requiring a second one, obtained after 24 to 48 hours.
Taísa Pagno //