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Format: 04/18/2014
Format: 04/18/2014


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: AGH doctors finish first dual transplant

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

By Mark Roth

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

As part of its continuing effort to revive and expand its organ transplant program, Allegheny General Hospital has performed its first-ever dual organ transplant.

The hospital announced yesterday that it gave a 63-year-old local man a new heart and kidney in a 10-hour surgery on Aug. 30. Both organs are functioning well, and the man, who asked not to be identified, is currently in a rehabilitation facility, said Dr. Raymond Benza, medical director of Allegheny General's heart transplant program.

The patient was suffering from cardiomyopathy, or weakness of the heart, and his poor blood flow in turn had caused significant damage to his kidneys.

One advantage of doing both transplants together is that the patient is much less likely to reject his new heart if he gets a new kidney at the same time. Researchers aren't sure why that happens, Dr. Benza said, but it may be because the person's own kidneys are repositories for immune system cells that are involved in organ rejection.

The other reason for doing a heart-kidney transplant, Dr. Benza said, is that better surgical techniques allow transplanted hearts to function more quickly, which provides a strong immediate blood supply to the transplanted kidney.

The West Penn Allegheny Health System hopes this procedure will be the first of many double-organ transplants, he said, including more heart-kidney surgeries along with heart-liver and heart-lung transplants.


To read more, visit the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette web site.

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