Niki Lauda: Lung transplant in Vienna

Niki Lauda's lung transplant
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G ute news from Vienna. Niki Lauda is still on the mend. The 69-year-old Austrian had surprisingly had to undergo a lung transplant in early August. According to the attending physicians, the situation before the operation was extremely critical.

But now Lauda seems to have the worst behind him. As was officially confirmed by the Mercedes team, the prominent co-owner and supervisory board of the racing team was released from the General Hospital in Vienna (AKH) a few days ago. The rest of the recovery will therefore take place in the lap of his family.

It will be a while before Lauda will reappear at the racetrack. The living Formula 1 legend now has to undergo intensive rehab to restore the full function of the lungs. Mercedes tweeted convalescent greetings back home from Mexico: 'We can hardly wait for you to come back!'

At a press conference at the General Hospital on Thursday (October 25, 2018), the treating doctors were very satisfied with the Healing process: “After the rehab, Mr. Lauda will be able to fly again and attend Formula 1 races. We expect a very good quality of life. He just has to swallow his medication, ”says thoracic surgeon Peter Jaksch. “He will definitely not be an athlete anymore. But I don't think he was in the last few years either. ”

His colleague Dr. Walter Klepetko, who operated on Lauda, ​​chose an analogy from motorsport for the current condition of the famous patient: “The engine is buzzing, we still have to work on the chassis. But it will be enough for the victory. ”The doctor surprisingly explained that Lauda had followed the Hungarian Grand Prix with artificial ventilation.

Lauda barely escaped death

Lewis Hamilton has to win the title this year without Lauda's help.

The emergency operation was necessary after Lauda caught a particularly severe type of pneumonia before the summer break, in which blood penetrated the lung tissue and alveoli. As a result, the oxygen supply was gradually restricted to such an extent that it was extremely dangerous to life. Although Lauda was connected to a lung machine, he would not have survived long without the transplant.

The medication also caused the kidney that his wife Birgit donated to him to donate in 2005 to fail for a short time. Fortunately, the doctors were able to restore the function. The kidneys are now working normally again. After the lung transplant, Lauda was briefly put into an artificial coma.

At a press conference a few days after the operation, the doctors spoke of a perfect healing process. The body has accepted the new lungs well. A special therapy could quickly be initiated to ensure full recovery.

If the development continues so positively, the Mercedes supervisory board could soon return to its normal life, according to the doctors. The chance of survival in comparable cases is more than 90 percent in the first year and around 75 percent after five years.

Lauda proves fighter qualities

Niki Lauda in his McLaren MP4 /2.

Niki Lauda is a fighter who himself knows how to overcome the toughest hurdles. The Formula 1 world champion of 1975, 1977 and 1984 has often proven this in the past. Lauda doesn't like to talk about August 1, 1976 - the day when he crashed into an embankment on the infamous Nordschleife of the Nürburgring with his 500 hp Ferrari at 220 km /h.

His Car went up in flames afterwards. Only after an agonizing 40 seconds was Lauda finally pulled out of the chaos of fire. The doctors fought for his life for five days. 42 days after the horror accident, Lauda contested the Italian GP. And was celebrated as the winner in Monza as fourth.

Niki Lauda cites the crash of a Boeing 767-300 of his former airline Lauda Air over Thailand as the worst event, in which all 223 occupants were killed on May 26, 1991. The cause was a technical defect in the engine. Despite many setbacks, Lauda has never lost his courage to face life. One of the strokes of fate was a serious kidney disease that required two transplants - his brother Florian donated one kidney.


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