Baltimore, MD - "I was always moving and doing I didn't it was hard getting used to not being able to do that stuff to be coming a vegetable.
It's good to breathe.
Just to take a simple breath was hard for Susan Dunnett who was diagnosed with Emphysema about seven years ago.
Near the end bottled oxygen was her constant companion, her skin had a grey pallor, her nails were black and her life was miserable.
"Any little thing that you can think of becomes a big thing it would take me 30 40 minutes to get up the steps it would take me 20 minutes when I was still sleeping in bed might take me 20 minutes to get the breath to get up and get out." Dunnett says.
But the Susan of the past two months is back to her old dynamo self.
She is the first person in the United States to receive a new type of lung transplant.
It's experimental because doctors are now able to take donor lungs and recondition them.
Lungs used to have to be almost perfect before they could be taken from a donor and given to another person.
This new process allows doctors to take lungs that would have before been too damaged by the natural processes of death and give them life again.
"If we can wash out all of those signals those little hormones that were sent out to sent out in response to the brain injury if we just wash them all out and start anew the lung tends to want to heal itself." University of Maryland School of Medicine Doctor Bartley Griffith says.
That washing is done with a special solution and the lungs are even re inflated and are made to breathe so that if there are any problems or collapses the doctors can repair them before placing the lungs in the recipient.
For transplant surgeons if this procedure is successful and approved by the Feds they can save a lot more lives.
"About 18 patients in the United States die per day not having access to organs that's all organs but the lungs are a part of that system by being able to recycle the organs in this fashion and using organs that would be thrown away we're able to save lives and give patients a special present.” University of Maryland School of Medicine Doctor Aldo Iacono says.
A present that Susan says gave her, her life back.
“When you think about what they can do, yeah and sit there and think about it the more impact it has on you that you've been given this gift that's what it is to me." Dunnett says.
The procedure has been used before in Canada and in Europe but this is the first time it was done here in the U.S.
Doctors say a lot of study is still being done at Maryland and other hospitals.
But if the studies are good and the feds approve the procedure.
Doctors think they may be able to triple the number of life saving lung transplants they do each year.
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