Miracle Surgery: The first successful intestine transplant from a donor who passed away from heart failure has been successfully performed on a one-year-old Spanish girl, according to news released on Tuesday by Madrid’s La Paz hospital.
In a statement, it added that the youngster had been released and was now living with her parents and was in excellent health.
According to figures from the Spanish health ministry, Spain is the world leader in organ transplants, performing more than 102 per million residents in 2021, a rate only surpassed by the United States.
Because Emma’s intestine was too short, she was given an intestinal failure diagnosis at barely one month old, and her health progressively declined until she received the multivisceral transplant.
Miracle Surgery: Aside from the intestine, Emma also received a new liver, stomach, spleen and pancreas
“The good news is that life goes on, that Emma is very brave and proving every day that she wants to keep on living,” her mother told reporters before thanking the donor’s family and the doctors. She said Emma is now 17 months old.
After medical professionals determine that a deceased individual is not breathing or has a heartbeat, asystole donations are made from that person.
The donor’s organs are subsequently artificially preserved via the Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation technique, despite the absence of oxygenated blood (ECMO).
What makes Emma’s case special is the difficulty in preserving an intestine from asystole donation due to the digestive organ’s characteristics.
Most transplanted organs stem from donors who have suffered brain death but retain a heartbeat, as this keeps the organs intact.
However, since the development of modern asystole donations, the technique’s popularity has grown to make up about one-third of all donations in Spain, La Paz said.