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Washington University surgeons successfully use artificial lung in toddler
Date:6/16/2011

llenging from a physiological standpoint," Gazit says. "We had to determine what to do with Owen's lungs do we support him and wait for a lung transplant or do we work to improve the lungs to get him off of the artificial lung? We had to think about this every step of the way to form an approach."

Occasionally Owen had to be taken off of the artificial lung to have parts of the circuit changed. Initially his blood pressure and oxygen levels dropped significantly, but over time, his ability to sustain adequate oxygen levels improved. Another indicator for improvement was the increased blood flow through Owen's lungs rather than through the device.

Owen was on the artificial lung for 23 days when he accidentally kicked off one of the device's connectors. This resulted in Owen having a stroke and required swift action. However, when Owen was taken to the operating room to reconnect the device, Huddleston found that Owen's lungs had healed enough to allow adequate blood flow on their own.

"Owen was able to come off of the artificial lung," Gazit says. "We had no idea that we'd be able to get him off of the device before a transplant. It showed us that everything we did was the right thing."

"It is important to mention that our success is the result of a major collaborative effort," Gazit says. "Owen survived because of the dedication and hard work of our nursing staff, respiratory therapists and perfusionists."

A year later, Owen continues to take medication for pulmonary hypertension and so far has been able to avoid a lung transplant, says Stuart C. Sweet, MD, medical director of the Pediatric Lung Transplant Program at St. Louis Children's Hospital.

This experience with the artificial lung gives the medical community an option to manage young children with similar illnesses and support them prior to a transplant, Gazit says.

"We would like to be a part of or lead a trial," he says. "It requires a multi-i
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Contact: Beth Miller
millerbe@wustl.edu
314-286-0119
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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