Haverfordwest nurse part of pioneering operation
"Ex-Vivo lung assessment, improves the quality of donor lungs by pumping them with blood, gases and oxygen which keeps them healthy for longer than they would normally survive outside the body"
Working on the cardiothoracic intensive care unit at Wythenshawe Hospital, 26-year-old Suzy Woodhouse witnessed first hand the successful transplant of the UK’s first donor lungs made to breathe outside the body.
The groundbreaking technique, Ex-Vivo lung assessment, improves the quality of donor lungs by pumping them with blood, gases and oxygen which keeps them healthy for longer than they would normally survive outside the body.
It also means lungs that would have been rejected can be optimised so they are of a higher quality for transplant.
The breakthrough means many more organs could become available for transplant and reduce the number of people on the transplant waiting list.
Wythenshawe Hospital currently performs around 20 lung transplants a year and hopes to increase that by ten with the ex-vivo technology.
Suzy, who has been a cardiothoracic staff nurse for more than a year and worked at Wythenshawe Hospital for around three years, helped care for the recipient of the first ex-vivo lungs, Ken Collins, as he recovered from the major surgery.
Suzy said: “We saw the lungs in the theatre in a sterile field as they were being ventilated so they looked like they were breathing which was very strange.
“It is exciting technology. So many people die on the waiting list but now more people will be able to get transplants and will be less sick when they get them.
“Ken is such a nice man, I helped to look after him in rehab and helped him get back on his feet, it is great to see him back to normal.”
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