Innovating Lung Transplant Protocols During the COVID-19 Surge

illustration of lung interiorHospitals across the country pushed the pause button on elective surgeries and non-emergency procedures during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, patients requiring lifesaving organ transplants couldn’t wait. To meet these patients’ urgent needs, the transplant team at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Lung Center sprang into action, quickly creating new protocols to help the sickest of the sick.

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New ECMO Transport Program at the Brigham

clinicians with EMCOAt Brigham and Women’s Hospital, The Lung Center has launched a new extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) Transport Program to provide lifesaving ECMO treatment to hospitalized patients at community hospitals in New England. The unique program arranges for ECMO specialists at the Brigham to travel to hospitals in the community, put patients on ECMO and bring them back to The Lung Center for complex pulmonary care.

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The Lung Center Provides Specialized Treatment for TBM

Chest CT scan
Chest CT: 62-year-old woman with tracheomalacia and emphysema.

An often-misdiagnosed lung condition is receiving special attention from a multidisciplinary team of specialists at The Lung Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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Focus on Family Members Points to New Clues About IPF


Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is more common than once thought. According to the American Lung Association, over 130,000 people are affected in the United States and about 50,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.

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Research Efforts Focus on Asthma-COPD Overlap

Person using inhaler

Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) each affect millions of people in the United States. So it’s not unexpected that a subset of patients would have both lung conditions. Yet surprisingly, little is known about the science of what’s called asthma-COPD overlap, or ACO. Experts at Brigham and Women’s Hospital are focused on changing that.

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Thoracic and Cardiac Surgeons Perform Innovative Resection

Cross-sectional view of yolk sac tumor (YST) surrounding the aorta.
Cross-sectional view of yolk sac tumor (YST) surrounding the aorta.

In the summer of 2019, Paul Pezzote, 67, learned he had Stage 4 cancer. Pezzote, who has Parkinson’s disease, had undergone treatments in 2010 at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC). However, the cancer had returned and spread.

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The Brigham Expands Use of ECMO During COVID-19

extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine

In March of 2020, Brigham and Women’s Hospital purchased four additional extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machines to prepare for a possible surge of COVID-19. It wasn’t yet clear if ECMO could support critically ill COVID-19 patients, but early reports from China had shown promise.

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Lungs of Deceased COVID-19 Patients Show Vascular Damage

Illustration of lungs with covid in them

SARS-CoV-2 and influenza A (H1N1) are in the same category of virus and both infect the respiratory tract. However, research has shown distinctive vascular changes in the lungs of patients with COVID-19 compared to those with H1N1.

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Proning Awake COVID-19 Patients in Early Stages of ARDS

Prone ventilation is well-established as an essential treatment for mechanically ventilated patients with moderate to severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, clinicians at Brigham and Women’s Hospital have been investigating the impact of proning awake individuals with ARDS before intubation.

Anthony Francis Massaro, MD, director of the Brigham’s Medical Intensive Care Unit, said that early initiation of prone ventilation in mechanically ventilated ARDS patients enhances oxygenation via several mechanisms. Read More

Preventing Two Potentially Fatal Complications of COVID-19

A decision by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic is helping patients hospitalized with the virus avoid two potentially fatal complications: deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). The Brigham’s protocol to give all hospitalized patients a prophylactic anticoagulant dose of low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) addresses blood clot risk factors that are particularly acute in patients with COVID-19. Read More