Monday, July 12, 2010

Specialist flown to Quebec from Toronto for artificial lung surgery

Sherbrooke man survives rare lung surgery

Procedure is the first of its kind in Quebec history

CBC News

Doctors in Sherbrooke, Que. are hopeful that a man suffering from severe pneumonia may have a fighting chance after surviving a rare lung procedure.

The man is believed to be the first in Quebec to have survived the surgery to attach an external artificial lung, known as a Novalung, to his leg.

The device is meant to perform some of the functions of a normal lung, including clearing the body of carbon dioxide and pumping a small amount of oxygen into the body through the arteries and veins in the leg.

The patients involved in the first two surgeries in Quebec did not survive the procedure.

Doctors said the device can only operate for up to 29 days.

“It's going to be there for a short period of time, after a while we're going to take it out. The device is just to let the lung recover from the pneumonia,” said Dr. Marco Sirois, a thoracic surgeon with Sherbrooke University Health Centre.

The 47-year old patient, who cannot be identified due to privacy regulations, is still in critical condition.

His daughters said they remain optimistic, despite the fact that their father is still seriously ill.

"We’re trying to stay realistic," said Noémie, one of the patient's daughters.

"But the surgery has given us hope,” said the other daughter, Jessica.

The surgery is so rare in Quebec that doctors in Sherbrooke sought the help of a specialist from Toronto, who was flown in from Montreal in a Quebec provincial police helicopter.

The Novalung is also sometimes used to help patients who are waiting for a lung transplant.

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