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Transplant success: Boy under 10 gets heart of girl under 6

Kyodo

Osaka University Hospital says it has successfully transplanted the heart from a girl under the age of 6 into a boy aged under 10.

The girl was declared brain dead on Sunday. Her liver and other organs were harvested for transplantation after her family gave their consent. That paved the way for the first lung transplant between children aged under 15 following a brain-dead declaration, according to the Japan Organ Transplant Network.

“We succeeded in smoothly transplanting (her heart),” operating surgeon Yoshiki Sawa said at a press conference.

The recipient boy who has been suffering from left ventricular noncompaction is expected to be able to leave the hospital in three to six months if he does well after the operation, the hospital said on Monday.

The boy’s parents said in a statement: “We have been worried how long our son’s heart can last in Japan where the number of donors is overwhelmingly few.”

They also expressed hope that their son will live a new life while always remembering the donor and her family.

The donor girl had been hospitalized at Juntendo University Hospital in Tokyo. Her family agreed to provide her organs on Friday after a doctor diagnosed that the child could be judged as brain dead after suffering from a brain disorder.

Under the revised organ transplant law, organs can be taken from anyone regardless of their age with family consent, unless the individual in question has explicitly refused to donate. But tougher brain-death criteria are applied to children under 6.

It is the second case of organ transplantation from someone aged 6 since the law took effect in 2010.

The boy who received her lungs was below the age of 10 and was suffering from cystic fibrosis. The lung transplant took place at Kyoto University Hospital.

The girl’s liver went to a teenage girl with primary sclerosing cholangitis at the same hospital in Kyoto, according to the Japan Organ Transplant Network.

While her kidneys are set for transplantation to two adult patients in Tokyo, transplant of her pancreas and small intestine were canceled due to medical reasons.