Page last updated at 16:08 GMT, Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Patient given pioneering lung op

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Pioneering lung op for patient

A 55-year-old man has received a life-saving transplant using lungs from a donor which were made to breathe outside the body, it has been revealed.

Kenneth Collins from Chirk, Wrexham, had the procedure during a 14-hour operation at the University Hospital of South Manchester seven weeks ago.

The lungs were kept healthy for a longer period than they would normally survive outside the body.

The father-of-two said he felt "10 or 15 years younger".

He said: "I am very grateful to the hospital and the team that I have been able to benefit from this new technique.

"I agreed to take part because I felt I had nothing to lose and wanted to have a transplant as soon as possible."

We've had the best gift that we could possibly have been given
Maggie Collins

For the operation, the hospital's transplant team removed lungs from a dead donor and used a machine to pump them with blood and oxygen to keep them healthy for a longer period than they would normally survive outside the body.

The lungs were then monitored and judged to be of a high enough quality to use safely in a transplant.

Previously, lungs could only be tested for suitability for transplant while they were still inside living donors in intensive care.

The procedure means many more lungs could become available, benefiting up to 25% more patients in need of a transplant each year.

Mr Collins, who suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and works in a plastics factory and has a wife and two sons in their twenties.

I am confident that many lives will be saved using this technique."
Nizar Yonan, University Hospital of South Manchester

He hopes to return home to Chirk on Friday.

His wife Maggie said: "Now that we've got to this stage we're just absolutely thrilled and very proud of him.

"We've had the best gift that we could possibly have been given.

"It's lovely, he's so full of enthusiasm. He does cherish and relish getting back to the simple things in life."

Mrs Collins added: "We didn't realise how big the new procedure was but it's just going to give hope and encouragement to other people, and maybe along the way more donors.

"Ken's living proof that it works."

The operation marks the first time the method - called ex-vivo - has been used outside Sweden.

Nizar Yonan, director of transplant at the hospital, said: "Mr Collins is making excellent progress and is an example of how this procedure benefits patients who may otherwise have died waiting for a transplant due to the national shortage of lungs."

"We have around 30 patients who have consented to be transplanted using ex-vivo organs and I am confident that many lives will be saved using this technique."

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