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Pioneering transplant surgery saves 11-year-old boy's life

AN operation in which parts of a lung from each parent were transplanted into their 11-year-old son was declared a success yesterday at Shanghai Pulmonary Hospital. It was the nation's first live-donor bilateral lung lobar transplant surgery.

Doctors said Liu Shan was recovering and able to breathe by himself. Yesterday morning he walked for the first time since surgery and is expected to recover fully within a month.

He had been suffering from congenital defective lung development and had developed a severe cough, a fever and experienced partial lung failure since November last year.

Doctors in his hometown of Zhengzhou, capital of Henan Province, said a transplant was the only way to save his life and suggested Liu's family seek medical help in Shanghai.

His father, Liu Chuntai, 48, and mother Liu Chunjin, 47, said they would be donors. Checkups at the Shanghai hospital found both were a match.

The surgery was carried out last Tuesday. In a seven-hour operation, doctors removed one lobe from the father's right lung and one lobe from the mother's left lung to transplant into the boy's chest.

There are three lobes on the right lung and two in the left. Taking just one lobe from each adult meant their health was not put at risk.

Dr Gao Wen, president of Shanghai Pulmonary Hospital, said the biggest challenge for lung transplant surgery was infection but that the hospital had taken precautions to control infection.

China has reported some 100 successful lung transplant surgeries, far lower than developed counties. More than 1,000 lung transplants are carried out in the United States every year.

The world's first live lung transplant was conducted at the Children's Hospital Los Angeles in 1990. Since then, the method has been introduced to other Western countries and Japan. By 2007, about 250 live-donor lung transplant surgeries had been carried out across the world.


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