Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Costa Rica's first heart-lung transplant patient dies

From the Tico Times in Costa Rica:
Mairen Alvarez, who made history last month as the first adult to undergo a heart-and-lung transplant in Costa Rica, has died from infection, doctors said. She was 21.

She died Sunday at 8:14 a.m. after suffering from septic shock from a severe bacterial infection, Luis Paulino Hernández, director of San José's Calderón Guardia Hospital, told The Tico Times yesterday.

Her passing occurred despite successful multiple operations, Hernández said. “The surgery was a success. Mairen was with us one month and during that time she regained consciousness, began eating and breathing by herself. Her heart was working well,” he said.

Alvarez sought the multiple transplants after she was diagnosed with lung distress that affected the right side of her heart.

A 23-year-old road accident victim in early January became her organ donor.

It was the second heart transplant -- and the first heart-lungs transplant -- in the country, Hernández said. And it seemed to be a great success, until late last week. Read the full story.

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