Lung transplant patient discharged from hospital after ten months in extensive care

Friday, 2019-10-18 16:04:24
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Assoc. Prof., Dr. Nguyen Huu Uoc, Head of the Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery Centre under the Viet Duc Hospital, advising his patient (far right) and his family members before leaving the hospital.
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NDO – Miracle happens as the first lung transplant patient at Hanoi-based Viet Duc Friendship Hospital was discharged from hospital on October 18, marking a milestone in organ transplantation in Vietnam.

>>> Vietnam’s first lung transplant patient discharged from hospital

With the pulmonary Langerhans cell histiocytosis – a chronic lung disease at a terminal stage, Nguyen Van Duc, 18, from Thanh Mien district, Hai Duong province, was miraculously revived after a lung transplant in October 2018 which was carried out by doctors who are all Vietnamese at the hospital.

After 10 months of intensive hospitalisation, on Friday morning, Duc was discharged with great happiness and relief from his family and doctors at Viet Duc Hospital.

October 18 was a special day for the medical staff at the Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery Centre under the Viet Duc Hospital. After conquering the first lung transplant in October last year, the doctors are now able to breathe a sigh of relief as today, Nguyen Van Duc was discharged from hospital after 10 months of extensive care following his transplant.

On December 12 last year, Duc underwent a major surgery which was the first lung transplant from a brain-dead donor performed at Viet Duc Hospital. At that time, he was in critical condition after five years of fighting pulmonary Langerhans cell histiocytosis. Before the surgery, he was diagnosed to live for minutes because his lungs were completely damaged. The doctors indicated that the only chance for him to survive was a lung transplant, which Vietnamese doctors had never done before.

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Nguyen Huu Uoc, Head of the Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery Centre under the Viet Duc Hospital, said that it was a miracle for Duc. Because there are many cases waiting in vain for a lung transplant for years without organ donation and must accept death, or even if there was donation but the transplant recipient was admitted to the hospital in a state of respiratory failure, so the operation can’t be performed.

Even when the donated lungs were suitable for Duc, the doctors experienced a great challenge when, for the first time ever, they had to conquer the lung transplant – the most difficult transplant technique ever completely performed by Vietnamese doctors. "500 people in our team must race against time and death to bring him back to life," said Dr. Uoc.

Sharing about this special case, Dr. Uoc revealed that there were a range of challenges for his team as the patient's condition was so severe and he was hospitalised for a long time. Before the transplantation, Duc did not absorb any form of foods, leading to muscle atrophy and difficulties in movement. "At this level of exhaustion, even an appendectomy was too dangerous, not to mention a major surgery as a two-lung transplant," Dr. Uoc recalled.

Doctors at Viet Duc Friendship Hospital congratulate Duc (sitting) for his discharge.

However, the surgery was a great success and in the past 10 months, he received intensive care at the Viet Duc Hospital as his condition was too weak. There were stressful days for the doctors as most of the most modern post-surgery treatments have been used to help revive the patient, according to Dr. Uoc.

He affirmed that the success of the transplant reflected the determination of Duc’s family and the tireless efforts of the physicians and nurses who cared for him da and nights. “This is a very rare case regarding lung transplants in the world medicine. The outstanding success after the past 10 months has confirmed the efforts, capacity and humanity of the medical team,” said Dr. Uoc.

According to doctors at the Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery Centre under the Viet Duc Hospital, Duc's family is in extremely difficult circumstances. During treatment, the hospital had to cover parts of the cost for his treatment, while calling for donation for his drugs.

At the discharge ceremony today of their son, Duc’s parents shared that his revival was a miracle for all of their family. Duc's father expressed his sincere thanks to the doctors and donors who brought him back from the dead.

Earlier, NVK, 38, the second patient to undergo a lung transplant carried out by Vietnamese medical staff, was also discharged from the Viet Duc Hospital in Hanoi on October 4, making him the first patient to be discharged from the hospital after undergoing a lung transplant carried out by Vietnamese medical staff. The transplantation took place continuously for nearly 15 hours, from 4 pm on August 12 to 6:30 am the next day, helping revive the 38-year-old patient who had been diagnosed with severe terminal bronchiectasis for the past 10 years.

All the transplants have affirmed the reputation of the hospital and the Vietnamese doctors in the field both at home and abroad.

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