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For the first time, SUR surgeons save a lung in a case of carcinoma invading the heart

1 März 2024
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A complex and successful surgery for a pulmonary neoplasm infiltrating the cardiac atrium was performed by the Thoracic Surgery Unit at Sant'Andrea University Hospital - Sapienza's General Hospital and a highly specialised structure in the Lazio Region. For the first time, the doctors managed to save a patient's lung, by reconstructing their heart. 

After a thorough multidisciplinary pre-surgery study, the patient underwent a difficult surgical treatment which allowed both the removal of the tumour and a subsequent partial replacement of the cardiac chamber. The surgeons used a biological prosthesis that could be perfectly integrated into the muscle tissue.

Into the surgery room

The difficult procedure lasted about five hours and was performed in extracorporeal circulation by a multidisciplinary team. The patient's heart was temporarily stopped and restarted as soon as the reconstruction with the prosthesis was completed.

After removing the tumour and reconstructing the affected cardiac chamber, the innovative procedure also allowed the patient's respiratory and cardiac function to be preserved, avoiding the need for complete removal of the lung. The patient was discharged in excellent condition after a two-week hospitalisation and ready to continue oncological treatment.

Today, more than ever, new technologies and advances in research and science allow us to treat even very complex neoplasms with exceptional surgical and therapeutic results", says Francesco Rocca, President of the Lazio Region.

When technology saves lives

Previously, this delicate operation had always been performed with the removal of the entire lung. For the first time, reconstruction of the heart made it possible to save the anatomical and functional integrity of the upper pulmonary vein, thus preserving the two healthy thirds of the right lung.

Thoracic Surgery at Sapienza University of Rome has always been excellent, and now this has been further and pleasantly confirmed by the innovative operation successfully performed at our Sant'Andrea University Hospital. I would like to thank the team, the professionals, the people who, with passion, dedication and a willingness to engage in dialogue, have made this result possible", says Rector Antonella Polimeni.

The innovative procedure was led by the thoracic surgeon Erino Angelo Rendina and carried out at the Thoracic Surgery Unit. 

Find out all the details from the original story, in Italian