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Reuters Health Information (2004-02-06): German doctors transplant eight vital organs at once

Professional Development

German doctors transplant eight vital organs at once

Last Updated: 2004-02-06 14:34:37 -0400 (Reuters Health)

BERLIN (Reuters) - German doctors have completed Europe's first simultaneous transplant of eight vital organs but only announced the results on Friday after waiting to make sure it succeeded.

Andreas Paschner, a doctor at Berlin's Charite hospital, said the operation performed in late November had been attempted no more than twice before, in the United States.

A secretary identified only as Stefanie H., 36, got a new liver, pancreas, stomach, duodenum, small intestine, partial large intestine, kidney and adrenal gland in surgery that lasted 12 hours.

"The patient is recovering well," said Dr. Paschner, one of a team of four doctors to perform the operation. "The patient is on a more or less normal diet," he said. "Her intestinal disorder is gone, but she will experience problems all transplant patients typically have."

All of the transplanted organs are now fully functional, and the woman may be able to return to work in about 6 months.

The women had Crohn's disease for more than 20 years and had been in hospital since November 2001. The operation became necessary after her liver and pancreas failed due to long-term intravenous feeding while she was waiting for a small intestine transplant and she became comatose.

Doctors found her entire stomach region had hardened from abscesses, bleeding and the build-up of scar tissue, a condition doctors call a "frozen abdomen," from more than 20 operations.

"This operation was the last possible treatment for a patient who suffered from an intestinal disorder with severe and life-threatening complications," Dr. Paschner said.

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