In first for Belgium, surgeons transplant four organs during one operation on toddler

Surgeons at UZ Leuven have transplanted four organs of an infant in one operation, the hospital announced on Wednesday. It is the first time in Belgium that surgeons were able to transplant all the abdominal organs of a toddler in a single operation.

The patient had a genetic disorder that caused a nerve problem in his intestines. As a result, he could only take in food through a catheter, a method that can lead to infections over the long term. He also had liver problems. To fix these problems, surgeons successfully transplanted the two-year-old's stomach, liver, pancreas and small intestine all at once.

"The operation is challenging," said Professor Jacques Pirenne, head of abdominal transplant surgery at UZ Leuven. "We have to mobilise different teams and specialists at very short notice, sometimes in the middle of the night. That's why we are happy that the young patient is doing well and can eat normally again."

Two surgical teams

The team was mobilised as soon as a suitable donor was found. Two surgical teams operated simultaneously on the donor, who was not located in Belgium, and the infant. This shortened the waiting time between transplants. Intestines in particular have to be moved from one body to another very quickly.

The transplant is a first not only in Belgium, but also within the Eurotransplant network, an international non-profit organisation responsible for promoting and coordinating organ transplants. It consists of Belgium, Austria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Slovenia.


#FlandersNewsService | A surgery in Antwerp © BELGA PHOTO TIJS VANDERSTAPPEN

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