Multi-organ transplant success heralds new era in surgery

Two teams of surgeons at the Zurich University Hospital had carried out a live liver transplant and simultaneously transplanted large blood vessels and replaced part of the same patient's heart with regenerated tissue, the hospital said in a statement, describing the operation as a "world first".

The patient, a 22-year-old woman whose name was not given, had been diagnosed in April with a large tumour on her liver, measuring 10 cm in diameter.

The tumour, which was brought on by a so-called fox tapeworm infection (Echinococcus multilocularis), had attacked the liver, the vena cava – the large veins discharging blood into the right atrium of the heart – part of the diaphragm and part of the heart, the hospital said.

At the end of September, one team of surgeons had regenerated the vena cava from a donor blood vessel, and had largely reconstructed the right atrium of the heart with regenerated tissue.