Monday, August 10, 2009

Amazing Case

A friend of mine told me a story about a patient he discharged from the hospital about a month ago.

She's a mid-50s-year-old lady, who had an underlying lung disease, something called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. That translates roughly to "scarring of the lungs and we don't know why." She developed a heart condition, possibly as a result of the scarred lungs. She also had renal failure - an unrelated, but equally unfortunate, condition. She had been on peritoneal dialysis for awhile - her heart condition meant that she couldn't tolerated traditional hemodialysis three times a week, because the fluid shifts associated with that caused her blood pressure to drop. In hemodialysis, they remove your blood, clean it, and give it back. Not all at once or anything, but a large enough portion is removed that you need to be able to handle the fluid change. So, she did peritoneal dialysis - she would get fluid pumped into the abdomen every night so that it could clean her blood, and then it was removed at every morning.

Well, she recently underwent a heart-lung-kidney transplant. All three (or four, if you count both lungs)! She got all three organs from a 50-ish year old donor, and they are working great. My friend saw her the last 3 weeks in clinic, and she's doing great! Apparently, she's super nice, and she is so grateful for her renewed energy. She can walk around the grocery store now, she can go with her son to Home Depot to get supplies for a home improvement project...she's a new person. Well, with 4 new organs, she really is like a new person!

It's amazing what medicine can do nowadays. Blows my mind.

2 comments:

Julia said...

absolutely amazing~!! and thank goodness for those people who are organ donors!!!

everyone should be an organ donor!

joyce said...

This combination of organ transplant has not yet been reported. My cofellow plans on publishing it, but I think you beat him to it! :)