Filipino man receives first-known ‘COVID to COVID’ double-lung transplant in US

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 18 2021 04:55 AM | Updated as of May 18 2021 02:22 PM

Renato Aquino, 65, is among the first COVID-19 patients to receive double-lung transplants. Handout

MANILA—A Filipino healthcare worker from Illinois became one of the first known COVID-19 patients to receive lungs from a COVID-19 donor in the United States.

Renato Aquino, a phlebotomist from Glendale Heights in Illinois, got sick with COVID-19 on May 14, 2020. He rushed himself to hospital after experiencing shortness of breath.

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A year after his ordeal, Aquino shared the story of his survival after receiving a double-lung transplant from a donor, who also recovered from COVID-19 before dying.

The donor had cleared the virus after having mild to moderate symptoms.

Aquino underwent a double-lung transplant due to the permanent damage caused by COVID-19 on his lungs. He spent months in the hospital on a ventilator, as his lungs struggled to recover.

By February, Aquino's family transferred him to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago after learning about their lung transplants.

Although Aquino's lung donor also had COVID-19, his death was unrelated to the illness and their lungs undamaged, making it viable for transplant. Doctors also had to perform several tests to prevent transmission of COVID-19 to the recipient.

Aquino underwent the procedure last February 25, and went home on May 14, exactly a year after he first contracted COVID-19 with his new lungs.

As of Monday, a total of 18,618 overseas Filipinos have contracted COVID-19. Of this number, 11,374 have recovered, while 1,162 have died.

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