Telangana sees sharp rise in lung transplants : Post-Covid

Telangana sees sharp rise in lung transplants : Post-Covid

Lung transplants are complex and infection rates and chances of rejection of the donor lung are always high, which indirectly impacts the survival rate of the patients.

On an average, one year survival rate of a lung transplant patient is 80 per cent while three-year survival rate is 50 per cent to 70 per cent.

The cost of undergoing such a complex surgery is very expensive and is out of reach for people with limited financial resources.

On an average, if a patient does not experience any post-transplant infections like pneumonia or other complications, the average cost of lung transplant will be between Rs 25 lakh and Rs 30 lakh.

However, in case the patient develops complications and needs Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation which supports and functions as heart and lung, thus allowing the body to recover, the cost of such therapeutics could even touch Rs. 1 crore.

Senior doctors who are familiar with the issue said that on majority of occasions, the patients end-up raising such huge funds on their own.

As a result, such patients need lung transplantation to survive, which has fuelled the demand for donor lungs. Before 2020, every year the lung transplants taken up at leading super-specialty hospitals in Telangana have never crossed double digit marks.

However, since Covid-19, the lung transplants are consistently touching double digits and are hovering just below the 100 mark.

Since the launch of Jeevandan, the organ donation initiative of the State government, between 2013 and 2020, a total of 23 lung transplants were taken-up in Hyderabad. Post-Covid, between 2020 and 2022, a whopping 156 lung transplants, which is over 500 per cent increase, have been conducted.

On an average, every month anywhere between 6 and 10 lung transplants are being taken-up at private hospitals in Hyderabad.

A large number of patients in the State who have managed to beat Covid-19 are now struggling with numerous health complications with their lungs, which in turn has triggered a sharp increase in lung transplant surgeries.

Being an upper respiratory tract infection, the Covid-19 pandemic has inflicted long term damage to lungs of patients who have managed to beat the disease in the three consecutive Covid waves.

There have been instances where individuals had to face multiple infections during every wave, which has inflicted more damage to lungs.The severity of Covid pandemic is not the same like it was a few years ago.

However, the long-term impact of the pandemic, especially on those patients who survived an intense infection of SARS-CoV-2, continues.