Yeast infection leads to failure of first uterus transplant performed in US

The first ever uterus transplant in the United States was performed in February at a Cleveland Clinic but within few days of successful nine hour long surgery, the uterus had to be removed. a patient at the Cleveland Clinic suddenly developed a serious complication last month, and on March 8 the transplant had to be removed.

26-year-old Lindsey McFarland became the first patient in the United States to undergo a uterus transplant in February. The doctors at Cleveland Clinic transplanted the organ from a dead donor in a nine-hour-long operation.

“Preliminary results suggest that the complication was due to an infection caused by an organism that is commonly found in a woman’s reproductive system,” officials from the Cleveland Clinic said in a statement today. “The infection appears to have compromised the blood supply to the uterus, causing the need for its removal.”

The infection was caused by a fungus, a type of yeast called Candida albicans, two of the doctors who performed the surgery said in an interview. It is normally found in the vagina, living in balance with bacteria and other microbes. But illness or some medications can disrupt the balance, allowing for a problematic overgrowth of the yeasts.

“This was a serious complication, potentially life-threatening,” said Dr. Andreas G. Tzakis, a leader of the surgical team. He is director of solid organ transplant surgery at a Cleveland Clinic hospital in Weston, Fla.]


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