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Severance Hospital succeeds in combined lung-liver transplant
  • By Lee Han-soo
  • Published 2019.04.17 18:00
  • Updated 2019.04.17 18:00
  • comments 0

Severance Hospital said Tuesday that it has successfully conducted a lung-liver transplant to a patient. The surgery was significant as the lung, and the liver came from different donors.

Seo Jong-gwan (seated) poses for the camera together with the Severance Hospital team who conducted his operation at the hospital in Sinchon, Seoul.

The patient, named Seo Jong-gwan, needed to receive the transplant as he was suffering from both interstitial lung and autoimmune liver disease. The disease made it hard for Seo to live a healthy life without an oxygen supply, while the cirrhosis gave him severe jaundice.

After going into a coma due to cirrhosis in March, a Severance Hospital team decided that they could not wait for brain-deceased organs for both the lung and the liver and decided to transplant Seo with a lung from a brain-deceased donor and a liver from his wife.

The doctors at Severance Hospital succeeded in transplanting both organs after a 14-hour surgery.

Until now, most patients undergoing lung-liver transplant received both organs from a single brain-dead transplant recipient. In such a case, depending on the status of the donated lung, the surgeon could immediately decide whether to proceed with surgery or not.

There are not many organ donors in Korea, however, making it challenging to receive two or more organs at the same time from a single brain deceased person. Therefore, doctors have to consider simultaneous transplantation of the organs from the brain-dead donors and live-donor organs.

“I was able to receive systematic treatment of the medical staff from the medical examination to the operation,” Seo said. “As I do not have any problems breathing, I will be able to work again after regaining my strength.”

Professor Joo Dong-jin, a member of the team that conducted the surgery, said, “Due to the lack of donation of brain-dead donors, many patients who need multiple organ transplantation have difficulties in receiving organs at the same time.”

A combined transplant surgery consisting of organs donated by a brain-dead donor and a live-donor is a high-risk transplant operation that requires systematic collaboration between related departments, but it may be a new alternative for patients who need such surgeries, Lee added.


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