US trachea transplant gives hope to COVID patients with windpipe damage

The first windpipe transplant was successfully performed in the US.

In New York City, surgeons have performed the first windpipe transplant in the US. The patient was a woman who suffered severe asthma. The transplant gave her a new trachea, the tube that allows the passage of air from the mouth to the lungs.

Doctors say the positive results of this transplant offer hope for COVID-19 patients who are left with windpipe damage due to breathing machines. Dr. Eric Genden, a Mount Sinai surgeon who led the team, said that when a patient’s windpipe is damaged, a transplant is often the only way to improve their condition.

“Right now, we don’t talk much about those patients because there is no option for them,” Genden said. “We’re hoping that this procedure will … help not only the patients that are teetering on disaster but also the patients that are currently kind of deemed hopeless.”

“If it was going to be a failure, we would know by now. It’s quite promising,” said Dr Alec Patterson, a transplant surgeon at Washington University in St Louis. “It’s a major step forward.”

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