In a world medical first, doctors in Zurich have succeeded in transplanting one lung into two patients.
Walter Weder, head of the division of thoracic surgery at Zurich University Hospital, decided that the donated lung was large enough for two transplants – one for a 15-year-old girl and one for a 19-year-old man. Both had been born with cystic fibrosis.
In the operation, which took place in December 2010, both received a part of the two lobes of the lung.
Human lungs are located in two cavities on either side of the heart. Though similar in appearance, the two are not identical. Both are separated into lobes by fissures, with three lobes on the right and two on the left.
Thirty people were involved in the operation, which the hospital says has never been documented in medical literature.
In a statement, the hospital said the transplants had been successful and had given both patients the chance of a new life: they could breathe again without needing an oxygen mask.
swissinfo.ch and agencies