Lung transplant cases zoom due to Covid-19 in Telangana
Deccan Chronicle.| Tushar Kaushik
Over 100 lung transplants were carried out in Telangana in 2020 and 2021 compared to meagre 23 transplants in seven preceding years
According to data available with Jeevandan, Telangana's state-run organ donation initiative, 83 lung transplants were carried out in 2021 and 20 in 2020. (Representational Photo: AFP)
Hyderabad: Driven largely by Covid-hit patients, over 100 lung transplants were carried out in Telangana in 2020 and 2021, as compared to a meagre 23 transplants in the seven years prior to 2020.
According to data available with Jeevandan, the state-run organ donation initiative, 83 lung transplants were carried out in 2021 and 20 in 2020. Incidentally, eight transplants have been done already this year.
In-charge of Jeevandan, Dr G Swarnalatha said the number of transplants had increased dramatically post-Covid. She said that most of them were those affected in the second wave.
"These are patients who were infected during the second wave and eventually required a transplant, as lung damage occurs gradually and not overnight," she pointed out.
Dr Swarnalatha said currently about 20-30 patients are on the waitlist for a lung transplant, and not all of them may eventually need one as they could possibly recover with other medication.
Underlying problems lead to transplant: Meanwhile, pulmonologist at Gandhi Hospital Dr Shobha Kesa said that most Covid patients who ended up needing a transplant were those with an underlying lung problem.
"So, it’s neither a chronic nor an acute problem. Such patients take time to recover as the underlying lung has already been affected. Only if they don’t recover, a transplant is recommended," she said.
First wave experience comes in handy: Dr Sandeep Attawar, chair and programme director, KIMS Heart and Lung Transplant Institute, said knowledge gained about how Covid affects the lungs post the first wave had led to more patients reaching the stage where they could be saved by a transplant.
"During the first wave, when patients stopped responding to high-flow oxygen, they were put on ventilators.The patients’ lungs were inflamed and what they needed was rest," Dr Attawar said.
He said cases Covid patients needing transplants were being seen in the third wave too, with both Omicron and Delta infections. "We have done three Covid double-lung transplants in January and February. But the number of such cases are much lower compared to the second wave," he added.
Year No. of lung