Receive the heart of a deceased Covid patient? Italy announced on June 10 two organ transplants from donors who tested positive to negative patients without causing infection in the latter. A “world first”, according to the National Transplantation Center (CNT).

“The first two transplants in the world of deceased Sars-Cov-2 positive donors to negative patients and deprived of antibodies were carried out in Italy,” said a statement from the CNT.

“In both cases the patients received a new heart and neither of them was infected with Covid-19 after the transplant,” the statement said.

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Severe heart disease

The first intervention, carried out at the end of April in Bologna, concerned a 64-year-old man, while the second was carried out in mid-May on a 15-year-old boy in Rome.

The two patients, “suffering from severe heart disease, were on the national emergency waiting list and obtained” heart transplantation “thanks to a dispensation granted by the CNT,” the statement said.

Bypass the protocol

The protocol currently in force allows for the transplantation of life-saving organs from coronavirus-positive donors. But this only concerns patients “positive at the time of transplantation, or already immunized because having had the disease or thanks to the vaccine”, recalls the CNT.

In the two cases in question, “the seriousness of the clinical conditions of the two patients pushed the medical teams of the two centers to ask us the authorization” for the transplant, explained Massimo Cardillo, director of the CNT, quoted by the press release.

“We estimated that for the two patients the risk of death or the development of serious pathologies linked to the fact that they would remain on the waiting list was greater than the possible transmission of pathology from the donor,” he added. he added, adding that the two patients “are now in good health and have returned home”.

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19 positive organ donors

Since this protocol concerning transplants from Covid-positive donors came into force last December, 19 transplants and grafts have been performed, but only these two on negative patients.

The 17 other interventions all concerned patients who had already had Covid and could therefore receive an organ from a positive donor, added the CNT.