World's first trachea transplant in a post-COVID-19 patient carried out at the Sant'Andrea University Hospital
On Thursday, April 15, our Aula Magna hosted a press conference to present an innovative transplant operation, the first in the world on a post-COVID-19 patient, carried out at the Sant'Andrea University Hospital. Damage to the patient due to invasive ventilation techniques during his illness resulted in a narrowing of the trachea that almost completely prevented him from breathing, making surgery necessary.
The transplant was performed on March 2 at the Department of Thoracic Surgery of the Sant'Andrea University Hospital, a general hospital belonging to the Sapienza network and a highly specialised centre of the Lazio Region. The patient, a 50-year-old man from Sicily, southern Italy, immediately woke up and was able to breathe and speak on his own; after a three-week hospitalisation and a regular post-operative course, he resumed his everyday life, returning to his job and his city.
The important milestone was presented today in the Sapienza's Aula Magna by the medical staff of the Department of Thoracic Surgery directed by Erino Rendina, and in particular by the young surgeon Cecilia Menna, the 35-year-old head of the "Tracheal Replacement" Programme at Sant'Andrea who, together with Professor Rendina, performed the operation herself.
The tracheal pathology was extensive and severe and could not be addressed with reconstruction techniques, on which we have twenty years of experience," says Erino Rendina, "and the only plausible option was to replace the entire trachea with biomaterial. One of the most critical issues in the replacement of the trachea, a rigid and accessible tube," explains Cecilia Menna, "is the restoration of its rigidity: for this reason, we inserted a silicone cylinder, the so-called Dumon prosthesis, 10 cm long inside the implanted aorta, and completely restored airway patency, breathing, phonation and swallowing.
Mr Giuseppe, that's his name, spoke during the press conference remotely, confirming that he is in good general condition and has resumed sporting activity.
The Department of Thoracic Surgery of Sapienza-Sant'Andrea is the leading Italian reference centre for trachea surgery and one of the major European centres, strongly supported by the heads of Sapienza and Sant'Andrea hospitals.
The press conference was attended by Rectress Antonella Polimeni, Alessio D'Amato, Councillor for Health of the Lazio Region, Adriano Marcolongo, Director General of the Sant'Andrea University Hospital, and the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Psychology Fabio Lucidi. They shared the brilliant result and explained the complexity of the organisational machinery set in motion to complete the transplant.
For more details and to rewatch the press conference, please click on the Italian version of this article.