A Double-Lung Transplant and a Pair of Breast Implants to Save a Life

The patient, had a history of vaping and multiple infections, first viral infections and then Pseudomonas pneumonia. He had a really severe infection in both lungs. He was ventilated but the ventilator was not sufficient to keep him alive. He was then placed on the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), and he was dying on the ECMO, with no other options for him at that time. He was failing antibiotic treatments, and unfortunately, ECMO was not bridged for his survival or improvement.
The hope, of course, is that bypassing the heart-lung system allows the lungs times time to heal and eventually you can wean the patient off ECMO, back to the ventilator, and then off the ventilator. But this was not the case here.
In his current condition, he was not a candidate for a lung transplant.
We came to idea to actually remove the lungs from the patient. The patient would be living without his lungs while we waited for new lungs to be available from a donor.
We had to create artificial channels in the heart, reconnecting the right and left side of the body and implanting oxygenators to take over the function of the lungs.
The heart was beating in a chest cavity in the absence of lungs stabilizing it from either side. To keep the heart stable two breast implants were put on either side of it.

When the transplant lungs arrived, the breast implants were removed and the lungs were put in.

Now the patient is out of the hospital, out of rehab, and here, at his temporary home in Chicago and doing really well.

Author(s) Source
Wilson FP Medscape Dec 21, 2023
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