Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Kentucky woman has unusual lung transplant

As donation after cardiac death becomes widely acceptable it will have a definite impact on the rate of organ donation. Congratulations to the UK Medical Center for being a leader in this area.

From the Lexington Herald-Leader :

Pikeville, KY woman has unusual lung transplant at University of Kentucky Medical Center

By Jack Brammer
For the first time in Kentucky, a full set of lungs has been transplanted to a patient from a donor who suffered cardiac death as opposed to brain death only.

The unusual surgery is referred to as "non-heart beating donation" or "donation after cardiac death," and is touted as a way to expand the pool of organ donations.

Only 12 such operations were performed in the United States last year, said Dr. Timothy Mullett, director of the lung transplant program at the hospital who performed the transplant with Dr. Mark Bonnell and Dr. Hassan Reda.

The delicate five-hour operation took place Saturday morning at the University of Kentucky Medical Center to benefit Rebecca Boyd, 23, of Pikeville, who was suffering with cystic fibrosis, Mullett said.

"She looks very good. She is responsive. I expect the ventilator will come off tomorrow," said Mullett in an interview Sunday.

The patient's mother, Tamie Thacker, issued a statement through the hospital. She said, "Nobody knows how grateful we are. I want to thank the family who helped make this possible. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family who made the donation."

Mullett did not identify the donor but said the person was "non-local."

UK and the University of Louisville have performed liver and kidney transplants from donations after cardiac death, but this marks the first time for a lung transplant, he said.

Most organ donations occur after brain death. The donors have suffered complete and irreversible loss of brain function and are clinically and legally dead. Mechanical ventilation such as respirators and medications keep their heart beating and blood flowing to their organs.

Some donations occur from living donors, such as when a living person donates a kidney to a recipient.

So far this year, UK has performed 12 lung transplants and is on schedule to do 25 to 30, Mullett said. The hospital did 18 last year.

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