University of Colorado Hospital Transplant Center Performs First-ever Double-lung and Liver Transplant in Colorado

The patient, a 30-year-old Nebraska man with Cystic Fibrosis, was on the transplant wait list for nine months.
March 16, 2015

AURORA, Colo. — The University of Colorado Hospital Transplant Center has performed the state’s first-ever double-lung and liver transplant surgery.

The patient, a 30-year-old Nebraska man with Cystic Fibrosis, has been cared for by the UCH pulmonary and hepatology teams for many years. Cystic Fibrosis is a life-threatening genetic disease that affects the lungs, and the disease also severely damaged this patient’s liver.

After about nine months on the transplant wait list, Donor Alliance identified matching lungs and liver organs for the patient, and a combined liver/lung team recovered the organs and brought them to UCH.

“The lung transplant team and liver transplant team worked closely together to accomplish this great success,” said Dr. Igal Kam, Transplant Surgical Director for the University of Colorado Hospital (UCH).  “The surgery went smoothly, and this sets the stage for performing this rare, but important surgery at our hospital in the future. Most importantly, this surgery will significantly improve the quality and life expectancy of this patient.”

Dr. Michael Weyant, UCH cardiothoracic surgeon, led the lung transplant team, and Dr. Kam led the liver transplant team in the 12-hour surgery. The patient is doing well and is expected to spend the next few weeks recovering at the hospital.

“As the only hospital in our region able to provide lung transplants, University of Colorado Hospital is able to care for Cystic Fibrosis patients throughout the full course of this devastating disease,” said Weyant. “We perform a large number of lung transplants and liver transplants each year, but combining the two transplants into the same surgery is rare, and this will enable the patient to recover more quickly and get back to his life.”

About University of Colorado Hospital

University of Colorado Hospital is the Rocky Mountain region’s leading academic medical center.  UCH is best known as an innovator in patient care and often as one of the first hospitals to bring new medicine to the patients’ bedside.  University HealthSystem Consortium named UCH the #1 Academic Medical Center in quality in the nation in both 2011 and 2012, and U.S. News & World Report calls University of Colorado Hospital the best hospital in the state.  UCH is one of five Colorado hospitals that make up University of Colorado Health.  The hospital’s physicians are affiliated with the University of Colorado School of Medicine, part of the University of Colorado system.  Based on the expansive Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, CO, the hospital is where patient care, research and education converge to establish the future of health care delivery.