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Texas Girl To Undergo Double Transplant

July 24, 1990

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ A 3-year-old girl underwent a rare transplant Monday to replace her small intestine and liver.

Tracey Gonzalez of Corpus Christi, Texas, needed the double transplant because of a condition called short gut syndrome, said Children’s Hospital spokeswoman Sue Cardillo. The liver was damaged by intravenous feeding, she said.

Surgery began at 5:25 p.m. and was expected to last 12 to 14 hours, Ms. Cardillo said.

Small intstine transplants have a poor success rate. Since 1983, three adults and three children have all died within a year of their surgeries at Pittsburgh hospitals.

The girl was born with a small intestine too small to adequately digest food passing through the body. The organs, from the same donor, will be transplanted simultaneously.

″A child with short gut syndrome has no way to absorb nutrition,″ Ms. Cardillo said. Intravenous feeding with a high-protein fluid provides nourishment but damages the liver, she said.

Tracey has been a patient at Children’s Hospital since April 22.

An estimated 2,000 children are born with short gut syndrome in the United States every year.

Earlier this year, Dr. John Fung of Presbyterian-University Hospital announced what he called the world’s first successful small intestine transplant on a man who was shot in the abdomen.

The man, who was not identified, was able to eat after the April operation but still was recovering, Fung told the University of Pittsburgh’s board of trustees.

Lisa Rossi, a Presbyterian-University spokeswoman, said three other small intestine transplants on adults have been attempted at the hospital, but all were unsuccessful and the patients later died.

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