First ever lung transplant on HIV patient performed in Italy

Italian surgeons have performed the world's first lung transplant on an HIV patient.

The operation took place in Palermo in southern Italy at the Mediterranean Transplant Institute.

The male patient was suffering from terminal respiratory problems and the transplant was his only possible chance of survival; doctors say the patient is recovering well from the operation.

The team are apparently appreciative of the fact that HIV drugs have made the operation possible and Alessandro Nanni Costa, the director of Italy's National Transplant Centre, says the operation was a significant event in the progress of transplants.

The Mediterranean Transplant Institute, which is based in Sicily had previously only carried out kidney, liver and pancreas transplants on HIV patients.

Medical infection expert Paolo Grossi says there has been a marked improvement in the last decade in the long-term survival of HIV patients and the operation was only possible because of a new class of extremely effective infection drugs.

Experts say the operation will lead to more transplants for HIV patients now being considered.

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