• Kyodo


Okayama University Hospital said Monday that part of a mother’s lung had been successfully transplanted into her 3-year-old son in the world’s first middle lobe transfer from a living donor.

The operation made the troubled boy, whose lung function was declining, the youngest lung recipient in Japan, the hospital said.

“His artificial heart and lung has been removed, and he has begun to breathe with the transplanted lung. I believe the surgery was successful,” the lead surgeon, Takahiro Oto, associate professor of respiratory surgery at the state-run university hospital, said at a press conference after the operation.

The removal of the middle lobe of the mother’s right lung began shortly after 10 a.m., and its insertion into her son began around 1:30 p.m.

Lung transplants from living donors usually involve the inferior lobe, which has greater breathing capacity. But the boy received the middle lobe instead because it is smaller and matched his size.

The mother decided to donate part of her lung because the chances of finding a child lung donor were slim, the hospital said.

The boy underwent a bone-marrow transplant for leukemia about two years ago but later developed graft-versus-host disease, a complication in which the newly transplanted material attacks the recipient’s body, Oto said earlier.

Oto said the middle lobe transplant will pave the way for saving other babies who have not been able to undergo lung transplants.