World's first lung transplant on HIV patient performed

MILAN (Reuters) - Doctors in Italy have performed the world’s first lung transplant on an HIV patient, a medical institute in the southern city of Palermo said on Friday.

The man, whose age was not disclosed, had terminal respiratory problems and the transplant was his only chance of survival, doctors said. The patient was said to be in good condition after the operation.

“This is an important event in the progress of transplants,” Alessandro Nanni Costa, director of Italy’s National Transplant Centre, said in a statement.

Previously far only kidney, liver and pancreas transplants have been performed on HIV patients, according to the Mediterranean Transplant Institute, which is based in Sicily.

Doctors said it was thanks to better drugs to treat HIV that such operations could be performed.

“In the last ten years, we have seen a definite improvement in the long-term survival (of HIV patients), which has allowed for some to be considered for organ transplants,” medical expert Paolo Grossi said.