Organ donor saves two lives as doctors perform ground-breaking operation

Man killed by brain haemorrhage donates lungs to one patient, heart to another

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 February, 2014, 1:57pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 February, 2014, 3:27pm

Organ donations from a brain haemorrhage victim have enabled doctors to save two lives, one of them in a ground-breaking operation.  

An operation involving a double lung transplant and heart repair surgery, carried out in Hong Kong for the first time, was one of two life-saving procedures made possible by the organ donations of a man who died on Tuesday night. 

The man, who died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, had agreed to donate his lungs, heart and other organs. At least 8 patients benefitted from the donations.

Yesterday, surgeons in Queen Mary Hospital transplanted the lungs into a woman in her mid-40s. The patient had been suffering lung failure brought about by a congenital heart defect. At the same time she received heart repair surgery, making the operation a first for Hong Kong.

Dr Timmy Au Wing-kuk, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Queen Mary Hospital, said the team decided on heart repair with lung transplant rather than heart and lungs transplant after two meetings.

“It’s only been done in four cases in the past 22 years and results are not good,” he said referring to the latter method.

“Overseas experiences have also shown positive results in double lung transplant with heart repair surgery. That is why we chose it.”

The dead man’s heart was transplanted into a man in his mid-50s who had suffered multiple heart attacks and had coronary heart disease. Other organs from the dead man, including the liver and kidney, were donated to six further patients.