First successful lung transplant for cancer patient in Turkey

Published 30.04.2017 20:00

A medical team under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Cemal Asım Kutlu perfomed Turkey's first successful lung transplant for a cancer patient, with the patient returning to normal life just three months after the operation.

Kutlu's 44-year-old patient D.A. was operated on December 30 last year by teams of both the Gaziosman Paşa Hospital of Istanbul's Yeni Yüzyıl University and the Kartal Koşuyolu Hospital.

According to recent medical checks, he has now fully recovered with the help of additional physiotherapy and enjoys good health.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Kutlu explained that his patient had undergone a lung surgery about 5 years ago, which led to the detection of a certain kind of pulmonary cancer.

Kutlu stated that although a part of his right lung was removed, the illness recurred and D.A., who was already in the terminal stage of the illness, had very few chances of survival, as that type of cancer tended to spread.

As other options for treatment dwindled, Kutlu and his team consulted with doctors abroad and came to the decision that D.A. was suited for a lung transplant. D.A., who was on the national waiting list for lung transplants, was lucky to find a donor organ just in time, as his condition had already worsened and he had to be put on a ventilator.

Only two days after the operation, he was able to breathe on his own again. Kutlu said he hopes D. A. will pave the way for other patients with similar conditions.

The operation performed by Kutlu and his team is rare among organ transplants in general. Lung transplants form a minority among organ transplants, and pulmonary transplants for patients with cancer are much rarer.

The reasons given for the relative rarity of lung transplants are that lung cancer tends to relapse and that not all patients are suited for this kind of treatment, Kutlu added.

Successful transplantations of this specific type have previously been performed in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia, and Turkey has now entered the league of these medical pioneers.

Lung transplants can be carried out in cases of copd, infectious diseases, the hardening of the lung, pulmonary hypertension due to unknown causes and, in rarer cases, for cancer patients.

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