Fatima Mohammed, a 64-year-old woman from Bahrain had undergone a lung transplant few years ago as she had a lung failure. However, the lungs deteriorated due to a fungal condition, which led to Bronchiolitis Obliterans Syndrome (BOS). She has now been put on artificial lungs named 'Novalung', an interventional lung assist (ILA), a part of which is outside the body and the other part is implanted through the femoral
artery and vein.
The artificial device does not require any external power source. The 'Novalung' acquires blood from the femoral artery, carts off Carbon dioxide, adds oxygen and takes blood to the femoral vein. This device supports blood flow of 1.3 to 2 litres per minute and oxygen of 15 l/minute. Pulmonologist Vijil Rahulan, said she suffered end-stage lung failure that requires a heart-lung bypass machine. He also said that the usual extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) procedure couldn't be performed in her case as it may lead to permanent organ damage and
"It's tough enough to find a suitable lung to transplant for when a patient needs it, but when they're as sick as Fatima Mohammed Ahmed was, it's out of the question. Her protein levels were low and her muscles were weak, she was morbidly obese and she was on a ventilator for two weeks," recounted Dr Rahun Chandola, Senior Consultant Heart and Lung Transplant Surgeon.
The device can help Fatima till a suitable transplant lung is got for her. Till date, it has been reported that 5 months is the longest survival using this device. But, even a day longer than this was a blessing.