PITTSBURGH (July 2, 2014) John Sacker, 33, of Oklahoma is slowly gaining strength at a Pittsburgh hospital after receiving a second set of transplanted lungs in a procedure that was made possible only through the use of a device that has never before been used in the U.S.
The Hemolung essentially works like dialysis for the lungs, cleansing a patient's blood of carbon dioxide.
Sacker was near death at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center after cystic fibrosis destroyed his lungs and a severe infection caused his body to reject an initial set of transplanted lungs.
Doctors feared they couldn't get him strong enough to get another lung transplant, but decided to gamble on the unapproved Hemolung.
One was found in Toronto and was brought to Pittsburgh, and Sacker’s condition improved to the point that in mid-March he was able to undergo the second transplant.
He calls the machine a lifesaver.
The Hemolung has been approved for use in Canada and Europe and it’s maker, ALung Technologies Inc., is planning the stricter U.S. testing required by the Food and Drug Administration.