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Doctor: Lung Transplant Patients Face Multiple Problems

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CBS St. Louis (con't)

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – Her journey is not over yet.

A Washington University doctor said that about 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan, the Pennsylvania girl at the center of the child organ transplant debate.

Earlier this week Murnaghan received a new set of adult lungs, but the transplant is not a perfect solution for the young girl suffering from cystic fibrosis.

“The bottom line numbers are that about 85 to 90 percent of patients are still alive after the first year, that drops to about 60-70 percent after three years and closer to 50 percent at five years,” said Dr. Stuart Sweet.

“So its now a perfect solution its just trading one set of problems for another.”

Sweet says there is the chance the recipient’s body over a period of time might reject the new lungs, and the patient is also at risk for infection because of the immunosuppression that is required to keep the lungs from rejecting.

Sweet is a member of the national board of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network which has now set up an appeals process that increases the chances for a child to receive an adult lung.

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