ATLANTA — In a rare operation that took more that 12 hours and ended Saturday, surgeons transplanted the heart, lungs and liver of a traffic accident victim in a procedure that involved three patients and required four operating rooms.
The heart and lungs of the accident victim, a young woman who died in an Atlanta hospital Friday, were transplanted into a 38-year-old Atlanta man who had a life-threatening lung disease. His healthy heart was then implanted in a 60-year-old South Carolina man and a 50-year-old woman from Johnson City, Tenn., received the liver.
The Tennessee woman died of heart failure on the operating table Saturday, Judy Smith, of the hospital staff, said. She said the other patients were in critical condition and under intensive care, normal procedure after such an operation.
The hospital would not identify any of the patients by name.
Doctors said that heart-and-lung recipients usually have healthy hearts, but they receive both organs because the surgery can be done more easily and they work better when transplanted together.
The healthy heart of the recipient is then transferred to another patient who needs a heart transplant.