A man who battled back from COVID-19 only to face a life-threatening crisis when his lungs began to fail has become the first person in the Southeast to receive a double-lung transplant after beating the coronavirus, thanks to the nationally ranked lung transplant team at UF Health Shands Hospital.
The patient, who is in his 50s and has asked to remain anonymous for privacy reasons, tested positive for COVID-19 in April. The virus’s progression left his lungs severely damaged and unable to function properly. Once physicians deemed it safe, he was transported from Texas, his home state, to Florida to await a transplant.
But before the procedure could take place, the advanced lung disease multidisciplinary team at UF Health, focused their efforts on physically rehabilitating him while determining whether a transplant was his best choice.
“When he came to us, he was 100% dependent on ECMO, a form of life support, for more than two months,” said Tiago Machuca, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the division of thoracic surgery and surgical director of the lung transplant program. “Our goal was to use the initial time he was under our care to not only optimize his transplant candidacy but also investigate if his lung condition was truly end-stage.”Learn more about UF Health Surgeons Perform Historic Double-Lung Transplant on COVID-19 Survivor.