The option was suggested by Dr Luong Ngoc Khue, Director of the Health Ministry’s Department for Medical Examination and Treatment, following news that the British patient is recovering and nearly one third of his lungs can now function.
The patient had 90% of his lungs damaged in the first CT-scan a week ago, with pulmonary fibrosis scarring both of his lungs. However, the results of the second CT-scan on May 18 showed his lung function has improved considerably, with lung capacity recovering by between 20-30%.
The 43-year-old man, who works for Vietnam Airlines, was admitted to the Ho Chi Minh City-based Hospital of Tropical Diseases on March 18 after being diagnosed with the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. His health had since deteriorated due to pneumonia complications, and the patient had to battle for his life in the hospital’s intensive care unit.
With a serious failure of his lung function, a lung transplant was believed to be the only solution to save his life. Dozens of Vietnamese people have registered to donate their lungs for the transplant, however, doctors said priority would be given to a brain-dead person.
To doctors’ surprise, the patient has shown signs of recovering for the past few days, and doctors are considering the possibility of repatriating him to the UK, alongside the surgery option.
Over the past 10 days, the patient has more than 10 times tested negative for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and he has been confirmed to be free from the virus.
The British patient was transferred to Cho Ray Hospital, also in HCM City, on May 21 to continue internal treatment aimed at recovering from infection and being given resuscitation.