Last fall, after receiving a double-lung transplant, a Michigan woman died of Covid-19. The lungs were affected by Covid-19 even after initially testing negative with no signs of illness. According to a study published earlier this month in the American Journal of Transplantation, it is the first case of its kind. A case of donor-to-recipient transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is the first in the United States.
Dr. Daniel Kaul, director of Michigan Medicine’s transplant infectious disease service and a co-author of the study, told Kaiser Health News, “We would absolutely not have used the lungs if we’d had a positive Covid test. All the screening that we normally do and are able to do, we did.”
A woman who died of severe brain injury after meeting with an accident was the Donor. Doctors collected her nose and throat samples, after which she tested negative for Covid-19. The Donor did not have any recent travel history or symptoms. It is uncertain whether the Donor was in contact with anyone affected.
At the University Hospital in Ann Arbor, the women received a lung transplant. She, too, tested negative hours before the surgery. After the surgery, the patient developed severe fever, low blood pressure, and respiratory issues. Doctors took up a Covid-19 test sample from her nose, throat, and lower respiratory system. The nose and throat samples came negative, but the lower respiratory sample came out positive. Later, the same was the case when the Donor was tested.
Two months after the lung transplant and worsening conditions, she died.