Teen with cystic fibrosis gets second go at life with first-of-its-kind triple transplant

The Globe and Mail | SHERYL UBELACKER

Triple transplant recipient Reid Wylie, 19, does breathing exercises in his room at Toronto General Hospital prior to his discharge following surgery. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-University Health Network)

A Toronto teen with cystic fibrosis has been given a second chance at life with a first-of-its-kind triple-organ transplant.

In August, Reid Wylie underwent a 17-hour operation to replace his failing lungs, liver and pancreas at Toronto General Hospital, freeing him from using an oxygen tank and allowing him to eat meals without taking daily handfuls of pills to digest his food and insulin shots to control his diabetes.

A number of triple transplants have been performed using various organs, but this is believed to be the first in the world to replace the lungs, liver and pancreas in a single operation, the hospital says.

Cystic fibrosis, or CF, is a genetic disease that causes the lungs to fill with thick, sticky mucus, making them prone to repeated infections that eventually destroy the respiratory organs. This mucus also blocks tubes that carry digestive enzymes from the pancreas to the small intestine, leading to poor absorption of nutrients. Over time, pancreatic tissue can break down, resulting in diabetes. Continue reading