A Chinese hospital said on Sunday it had successfully transplanted a heart, a liver and a kidney into one patient, the first such operation in the country.
The transplant lasted 16 hours and ended early on Sunday morning. The 47-year-old female patient had come around and was recovering, said Dr. Dou Kefeng of the Xijing Hospital hepatobiliary surgery department.
The hospital in Xi'an, capital of the northwestern Shaanxi Province, is known for conducting the first face transplant in China, the second globally, in 2006.
The multi-transplant patient was diagnosed with uraemia and liver cancer when she came to the hospital on January 8.
However, doctors found a dilated cardiomyopathy, a disorder of the heart muscle, while planning the kidney and liver transplants. This meant she required a new heart first.
Dou said the patient was in critical condition and could have died before the Spring Festival that falls on Thursday if the transplants weren't undertaken.
The hospital decided to conduct the surgery at the request of the patient and her family. It wrote off the operation cost as the family from a small Shaanxi Province village could not afford to pay.
More than 30 experts were involved in the complicated operation. Cardiologists first spent more than three hours to transfer a healthy heart. Liver experts then operated for five hours before the kidney transplant.
Nearly 1,000 stitches where made during the surgery.
(Xinhua News Agency February 4, 2008)