After six months in Pittsburgh, Madeline got the call. The team at UPMC successfully completed her double-lung transplant at 3am this morning!
Jim remained at the hospital for most of the night, and Colleen and Mike flew in and arrived at the hospital by 11am. While heavily medicated, Madeline opened her eyes and gave a smile to acknowledge that they were all there.
The surgery was long and complicated, but Madeline did well. Because of her scleroderma, Madeline’s “old” lungs had extensive scarring which added some complexity to the procedure. Typically during a double lung transplant, one lung will be removed and replaced while the other provides needed oxygen to the patient. In Madeline’s case, her lungs had deteriorated so badly that a single lung would not be able to sustain her. As a result, she was put on artificial lungs for a portion of the procedure to provide oxygen to her body until the new lungs were in place. And because of the scarring and bleeding, the doctors decided to not fully close the chest incision at the end of the procedure. Madeline will be going back to the OR – probably Tuesday – so they can make sure everything looks OK before fully closing her chest.
Despite these issues, Madeline’s new lungs are functioning well. She is still breathing with the assistance of machines for the time being and will remain in the Cardio Thoracic Intensive Care Unit (CTICU) for the next two weeks. In total, she will be in the hospital for another three to four weeks before being discharged. But hopefully, she’ll be back in Rhode Island by April or May and is looking forward to seeing her wonderful friends and family that have been such a tremendous support though this challenging time. Madeline still has a long recovery period ahead of her, but she’s looking forward to getting home!
And for the record…spending six months in Pittsburgh hasn’t turned her into a Steelers fan. GO Pats!
As often as possible, we'll try to update this page to let you know how Madeline is doing and where she is in her fight for new lungs. Visit often!