UKC Ljubljana Carries Out First Lung Transplant in Child

By , 17 Aug 2020, 17:18 PM Made in Slovenia

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STA, 17 August 2020 - A lung transplant was performed over the Saturday night in the UKC Ljubljana hospital on a 14-year-old girl with cystic fibrosis, in what was the first lung transplant in a child in Slovenia's main medical centre.

The girl started breathing on her own with the new lungs already on the following day and she feels well, UKC Ljubljana said on Monday.

At the same time, a heart transplant was performed on a 15-year-old boy, which has also been successful, said Tomaž Štupnik, the head of the hospital's ward for thoracic surgery.

After the surgery, which involved a team of 20 doctors and nurses, the girl is expected to stay in hospital for two weeks under the optimal scenario. She is expected to return to living normally in a few months.

"With one surgery, a child who barely breathed before the transplant ... and whose quality of life was poor and who was psychologically at the bottom, turned into a practically normal girl who laughs, breathes and is much more lively."

Štupnik noted that it was harder to prepare a child for lung transplant because the team needed to also cooperate with the parents, and lungs of an appropriate size needed to be found.

What is more, the complexity of the surgery in the case of cystic fibrosis is higher because of the infection in the thorax, and the possibility of complications after the transplant is also higher.

Since UKC Ljubljana started performing lung transplants less than two years ago, 23 persons got new lungs, and the number of transplants in 2019 placed Slovenia 16th in the world in terms of lung transplants per million people.

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