Lung transplant performed at Rede D’Or restores quality of life to 60-year-old patient

A 60-year-old patient with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) was the first to receive a lung transplant at the Copa D’Or Hospital, in the south zone of Rio de Janeiro, after the creation of a commission of specialists in thoracic surgery. The procedure performed by surgeon Eduardo Fontena had the support of Brazilian physician Tiago Machuca, who is currently director of the high complexity pulmonary center at the Miami Transplant Institute (MTI), in the United States.

The transplant, considered a success by the doctors, was performed in early February of that year. On the last 18th, after a period of hospitalization and rehabilitation, the patient who had suffered from the disease for at least five years, was discharged. Pulmonologist Gabriel Santiago, one of the team members, explained that as it is an advanced stage disease, lung transplantation was the only resource.

“A year and a half ago, the disease worsened and the patient was very limited, having to use an oxygen bag to breathe and thus be able to perform basic activities such as eating and bathing. Now, post-transplant, the patient has resumed his routine, without the need for supplemental oxygen”.

The pulmonologist is part of the multidisciplinary lung transplant team at Rede D’Or in Rio de Janeiro, created a year ago. The assembled team counts on the partnership of thoracic surgeon Tiago Machuca. The specialist is considered one of the best thoracic surgeons in the United States and is director of the high complexity lung center at the Miami Transplant Institute (MTI).

“The goal of this team is to improve access and results not only in lung transplantation, but in advanced therapies such as ECMO (artificial lung), lung volume reduction surgery and high-complexity robotic surgery.”

According to the latest survey carried out by the Brazilian Association of Organ Transplants (ABTO) in 2022, 106 lung transplants were performed in Brazil. Santiago points out that the number is much lower than the current need in the country and that the implementation of new lung transplant services is essential to meet the demand. ABTO estimates that more than 1,500 people (1,681) wait for a new body each year. Last year, according to the entity, for the first time the procedure was performed in five states (RS, SP, CE, RJ and PR).


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