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Date Published: Friday, February 12, 2021
Date Updated: Friday, June 30, 2023

Case Report: After Recovery from COVID-19 Infection, Prospective Organ Recipients Should Be Considered for Transplantation

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VALHALLA, NY (February 11, 2021) – The Transplant Center team at Westchester Medical Center, the flagship of WMCHealth, successfully transplanted a liver in a patient who had recently recovered from COVID-19, demonstrating that appropriate, prospective organ recipients who have recovered from the viral infection can be safely considered for organ transplantation.

The publication detailing the transplant – which was performed in the midst of the initial pandemic surge - was published in the journal Transplant Infectious Disease with Abhay Dhand, MD, Director, Transplant Infectious Diseases at Westchester Medical Center, as the report's lead author.

Westchester Medical Center is located in New York State where organ transplant volumes fell dramatically during the early stages of the pandemic.  This was due, in large part, to what the report described as "diagnostic and treatment uncertainties involving COVID-19 in recipients and donors".  The subject patient was transplanted 71 days after initial COVID-19 diagnosis and had an undetectable viral test for 24 days at the time of liver transplantation. Immunosuppression and other post-transplant treatments did not lead to COVID-19 reactivation, according to the report.

 "Transplanting organs in recently-recovered COVID-19 patients can be challenging," said Dhand, "and this was especially true during the earlier days of the pandemic, as we struggled to learn more about the virus and its resulting complications. Uncertainties with diagnosis, the involvement of multiple organs and systems, prolonged viral shedding and immunosuppression were all weighable factors in our care decisions.

"In the end, we concluded that prospective liver recipients can and should be considered for transplantation after recovery from COVID-19, as long as the proper evaluation, donor selection and risk-benefit analysis is performed," said Dhand.

WMCHealth Physicians that contributed to the report include: Roxana Bodin, MD; David C. Wolf, MD; Christopher Nabors, MD; Rajat Nog, MD; Thomas Diflo, MD; and Seigo Nishida, MD.  Aaron Schluger, MD, also contributed.

 A Multi-Organ Transplant Program

Westchester Medical Center ‘s Transplant Center is the only multi-organ transplant program in eastern New York State from New York City north to the Canadian border known to offer adult heart and adult and pediatric liver and kidney transplant, as well as liver and kidney living donor transplant services. In addition to solid-organ transplantation, Westchester Medical Center also offers programs in bone marrow and corneal transplant.

Physicians or families seeking a consultation regarding organ transplantation should call 914.493.1990 (kidney and liver) or  914.493.7632 (heart) to schedule an appointment.  For more information about the transplant services at Westchester Medical Center, visit WestchesterMedicalCenter.org/Transplant.