First Intestine Transplant Performed at Henry Ford Hospital

First Intestine Transplant Performed at Henry Ford Hospital

First Intestine Transplant Performed at Henry Ford Hospital

On August 21st and 22nd, a surgical team at the Henry Ford Hospital in Michigan performed an 11 hour long surgery to transplant important parts of the gastrointestinal system into a 50 year old patient. This was the first successful transplant of multiple intestines and bowel components in Michigan. The patient had suffered from insulin-dependent diabetes and short bowel syndrome, and a transplant was his only treatment option.

Prior to the transplant, the patient required an average of six bowel surgeries each year to repair and treat his badly damaged intestines. Years of Crohn’s disease and inadequate blood circulation from diabetes led to serious damage that prevented him from absorbing the crucial nutrients in food. His immune system was barely functioning and he was required to eat constantly. An overnight IV was the only way to prevent dehydration as he slept.

The transplant seems to have been a success. He no longer requires a steady IV, and is currently combining tube feedings and regular meals. The symptoms of his diabetes and Crohn’s Disease have gradually faded away, and he is experiencing much better health. His doctors say that he will need to eat carefully to avoid irritating his transplanted intestines and stay hydrated, but beyond an infection or unexpected rejection of the organs, he should return to a much more normal life.

His surgery included the transplant of a stomach, small bowel, and pancreas. Other patients may receive a intestine only transplant, or a transplant involving a new liver if regular IV nutrition therapy has damaged their liver. The first successful procedure was performed in Germany in 1987, and over 200 patients are currently on the waiting list for this procedure, including three at Henry Ford Hospital. New advances in transplant surgery has allowed for more complicated and successful transplants.


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