Kyoto University Hospital said the woman underwent an 11-hour surgery by a team of 30 strong doctors on Wednesday to transplant lung tissue from her husband and son.
But Kyoto Hospital said it was the first case that lung tissue was transplanted from a live donor to a COVID-19 patient.
Hiroshidate, the hospital’s cardiothoracic surgeon who led the surgery, said it gave hope to patients suffering from severe lung damage from COVID-19.
“We showed that we now have an alternative to lung transplantation. (Of a living donor), ”he said at a news conference on Thursday.
The patient identified only a woman from the Kansai region of western Japan who was infected with COVID-19 late last year and spent months on a life-support machine working as an artificial lung, according to Kyoto University Hospital.
Covid-19 has caused tremendous damage to her lungs, they are no longer available and she needs a lung transplant in order to live.
The woman’s husband and son offered to donate a piece of their lungs. Transplants from brain death donors are still rare in Japan, and living donors are a better option, according to the hospital’s statement.
The husband and son were in a stable state and the woman remained in intensive care. She is expected to be discharged in about two months, according to the hospital.