A male COVID-19 patient in Oklahoma is in need of double lung and heart transplant after being infected by the virus in March. 

Brian Karnes, 47, his wife, Rebekah, and all five of his daughters tested positive for COVID yet Brian remains in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). 

Neither Brian nor Rebekah were vaccinated. 

COVID-19 Led to Need for Double Lung and Heart Transplant

"COVID-19 hindered Brian's lungs from expanding and caused right-sided heart failure," according to Newsweek

With his lungs failing, Brian is on a ventilator most of the time and needs the double transplant to survive without it. A valve helped him talk during the interview cited in the Newsweek report. 

His wife said that they still do not know where he got the COVID from and how he got sick. 

Brian, for his part, said that he does not want to give up. "I just want a chance," he said. 

Lung Transplantation

(Photo : Vidal Balielo Jr. from Pexels)

Severe COVID-19 infection may lead to lung transplantation for some patients to recover from the sickness. 

Lung transplantation, otherwise known as pulmonary transplantation, is a type of organ transplantation wherein a diseased or failing lung is replaced with a healthy lung from a donor. 

According to an article posted on the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), there are two lung transplantation procedures: single-lung transplant and bilateral lung transplant. 

Single-lung transplantation involves the diseased lung being excised before it is replaced by the new lung "while the patient is supported on the contralateral native lung."

Related Article: Northwestern Memorial Hospital Performs Successful First Double-Lung Transplant on Coronavirus Patient

Heart Transplantation

Heart transplantation, similar to lung transplantation, is a type of organ transplantation that involves replacing a diseased heart with a healthy one from a donor. Heart transplantation may be necessary if "your heart is failing and other treatments are not effective," according to the John Hopkins Medicine website. 

Causes of heart failure include heart attack, congenital heart defects, anemia, pulmonary hypertension, and viral infection of the heart muscle. Heart transplantation requires an open heart surgery. How the procedure goes will depend on the condition of the patient. 

Heart transplantation, like any surgery, may cause complications that include infection, blood clots, and failure of the donor heart. 

Patients who receive heart transplantation need to be on medication for the rest of their lives in order to avoid and treat possible rejection. 


As Brian and his wife, Rebekah, wait for a possibility of a double lung and heart transplantation surgery to take place, Brian is currently receiving a treatment called ECMO in order to survive. ECMO stands for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.

According to the report by Newsweek, ECMO involves taking blood from the patient, oxygenating it, and then putting it back in the body. The blood is oxygenated by pumping it into an oxygenator, which also removes carbon dioxide from it. 

Also Read: Coronavirus: A Ventilator Wasn't Enough to Save COVID-19 Patient, But ECMO Did

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Written by Isabella James

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