VIJAYAWADA: The first COVID-19 patient to undergo plasma therapy at Sri Venkateswara Institute of Medical Sciences (SVIMS) has recovered and was discharged late on Wednesday. "The comorbid patient has shown remarkable improvement in her health condition. Samples taken on the 14th and 15th day of her treatment have tested negative," said an official.
The 45-year-old was brought to SVIMS from a Kadapa hospital on June 3 after her condition deteriorated. "As per the guidelines prescribed by Indian Council of Medical Research, we gave her the first dose of 250 ml the next morning. She was not able to talk let alone sit when she was brought here. However, even before we gave her the second dose, she was stable eough to sit and talk without showing any breathlessness," the official added.
At the time of admission, the patient’s respiratory rate was 40 breaths per minute against the normal 18 breaths per minute. After the first dose, the rate came down to 24 breaths per minute.The woman was suffering from pneumonia, and has been a patient of diabetes and hypertension. To add to the problems, she survived a heart attack just two months ago.
Speaking to TNIE, the woman said: "I have a heart problem and had gone to a hospital in Kadapa as I was not feeling well. There, they asked my husband to take me to SVIMS, Tirupati where I was brought in an ambulance. During treatment, I was isolated in a room and no one from my family was allowed to visit me. The medicines they gave me in the initial two days of treatment were changed, after which my health started improving faster. Then I had the energy to sit, talk and eat by myself. Although the treatment was good, I never knew that I was being treated for the coronavirus."
On why the patient did not know that she was being treated for COVID-19, the official said: "We had taken the patient’s, as well as her husband's, consent before giving her plasma therapy, which is a must as per the ICMR guidelines. Maybe, she does not remember signing the consent form as at the time when her signature was taken, her condition was critical. But her husband knew that she was being treated for the coronavirus."
The official explained the procedure for the therapy issued by the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research: "As per the guidelines, we send details of eligible patients to ICMR, which randomly categorises patients into case group and control group."
"The 45-year-old woman fell in case group: she was given blood plasma and prescribed drugs. A 53-year-old woman was put in the control group, and she was only administered medicines prescribed in the therapy, but not the blood plasma," said an official.
The official added that as much as 500 ml of plasma from one donor is to be given to a patient for two days (250 ml per day) with a gap of 24 hours between the doses.