Vietnam’s first lung transplant patient discharged from hospital

Friday, 2019-10-04 16:36:04
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NVK (R) is the first lung transplant patient in Vietnam to recover and be discharged from the hospital. (Photo: NDO/Thien Lam)
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NDO – Vietnam’s first lung transplant patient has recovered well and was discharged from the Viet Duc Hospital in Hanoi on October 4, after 1.5 months since undergoing the first lung transplant in Vietnam donated from a brain-dead donor.

NVK, 38, was congratulated by doctors of Viet Duc Hospital as the second patient to undergo a lung transplant carried out by Vietnamese medical staff and is the first patient to be discharged from the hospital.

Earlier on August 12, the Hanoi-based hospital announced that it had successfully carried out 15 organ transplants in six days, including the second lung transplant at the hospital, completely carried out by the hospital’s physicians.

The 38-year-old patient had been diagnosed with severe terminal bronchiectasis for the past 10 years. Recently, he was constantly hospitalised with ventilators and oxygen. He was in the late stages of the disease and only had a chance of surviving with a lung transplant.

Luckily, the devotion to the life of the brain-dead donor has helped him to be revived again. When there was information about a brain-dead donor, his whole family felt like he was returning from the dead. They mobilised the entire family resources worth VND1.5 billion to perform the lung transplant.

The transplantation took place continuously for nearly 15 hours, from 4 pm on August 12 to 6:30 am the next day. After a few days, K woke up quickly but only after three weeks were his family allowed to meet him. The lungs have adapted to K's body, helping him return to normal life as he can breathe and eat without difficulties as before.

After seven weeks of intensive treatment, he turns to another page of his life with the breath sustaining the life given from the brain-dead donor. "Without the donor and without the devoted doctors, perhaps my husband would not breathe for more than a few days. My family is really sorry for the losses of the deceased’s family and also really thank them for their noble commitment to help my husband revive,” said Nguyen Thi Hanh, 35, the wife of the patient.

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Nguyen Huu Uoc, Head of the Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery Centre under the Viet Duc Hospital, said that after the transplants, the patients’ conditions progress was very complicated, but quite favourable. Particularly for lung transplants, care is most difficult because there are many issues of concern, such as lung infection control, respiratory care, anti-rejection medications, physiotherapy and physical enhancement.

After more than 1.5 months of intensive care, the lung transplant patient’s condition was completely stable and he was discharged. "We have appointed continuous examinations with the patient for many months to continue enhancing rehabilitation for the transplanted lung," said Assoc. Prof. Uoc.

The success of the second lung transplantation at Viet Duc Hospital further confirms the capacity of the hospital's medical staff in the field of organ transplantation, which is of great significance in encouraging the doctors in their profession. Assoc. Prof. Uoc said that with the two successful lung transplants and practical experience through many heart and lung transplants, the Centre believed that it would develop better in terms of techniques and would turn lung transplantation into a regular operation like heart transplants.

Informing about the first transplant of two lungs from a brain-dead donor carried out by doctors at Viet Duc Hospital on December 12, 2018, Assoc. Prof. Uoc said that the operation was technically successful for a 17-year-old patient with pulmonary Langerhans cell histiocytosis – a chronic lung disease at the terminal stage and also suffering from severe multi-organ failure. Until now, the patient is still living nearly 10 months after the surgery and is in intensive care at the hospital.

The Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery Department under the Viet Duc Hospital has been well-known as the cradle of many generations of the nation’s leading cardiothoracic and thoracic physicians, such as Professors Ton That Tung, Nguyen Xuan Ty, Ton That Bach and Dang Hanh De.

For more than 10 years, the hospital and its cardiovascular and thoracic surgery department have focused on expanding other specialties besides surgery, such as internal medicine, cardiovascular intervention, respiration, internal resuscitation and post-cardiac operation resuscitation, to operate in the model of a centre for cardiology and thoracic surgery, with a closed diagnostic and treatment cycle for patients.

The department has achieved a lot of professional success in recent years, including heart and lung transplants, aortic intervention and hybrid treatment, treatment for vascular diseases and surgery on complicated diseases of the lungs and mediastinum, thereby improving the reputation of the department and the hospital both at home and abroad.

Prof., Dr. Tran Binh Giang, Director of Viet Duc Hospital, said that in the past six decades, the department has performed thousands of complicated heart surgeries and has developed thoracic cardiac surgery equivalent to many developed countries, while at the same time also transferring cardiovascular technology to other hospitals throughout the country. In particular, the department has performed 26 heart transplants and two successful lung transplants in recent years.

Prof., Dr. Tran Binh Giang (far left) and Assoc. Prof., Dr. Nguyen Huu Uoc (third from left) congratulate NVK (second from left) after being discharged from the hospital. (Photo: NDO/Thien Lam)