The Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH) has discharged a toddler who successfully received a lung transplant surgery last month, the hospital said Wednesday.
The operation began on the evening of May 4 and lasted about nine hours until dawn the next day. The toddler, known by just his family name of Jung, received a big Children's Day gift and regained his health. At the time of surgery, the patient was 22 months old and weighs 9.5 kg, the youngest and smallest in Korea.
The SNUH was also the first in Korea to perform lung transplantation in Korea in 2007 with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), providing both cardiac and respiratory support to persons whose heart and lungs are unable to provide an adequate amount of gas exchange to sustain life.
|Jung, his mother, and hospital staffs pose for the camera before the toddler leaves the Seoul National University Hospital Wednesday after a successful lung transplant surgery.|
Unlike liver transplantation and kidney transplantation, pulmonary transplantation does not require transplantation of a living organism legally. A brain-dead donor is necessary but is very rare.
Lungs from a brain-injured adult are harder to be transplanted due to weight differences. It is also difficult for a child who weighs less than 10kg to receive a donated lung transplant and has never been done in Korea.
Of the 4,226 lung transplant recipients globally registered to the International Pace Association in 2015, only 12 were under five years old.
"This was the first step in the process of creating new standards in Korea," said Professor Kim Young- tae of the department of thoracic surgery. "We hope that organ donation can revitalize more lives.”
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