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UPMC Patient First in U.S. Implanted With Hemolung Before Lifesaving Double- Lung Transplant

UPMC/University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

UPMC Media Relations 

An Oklahoma man who came to Pittsburgh for his second double-lung transplant was placed on a device never before used in the U.S., making him healthy enough to eventually get a transplant. With the help of a multidisciplinary team, Jon Sacker is now recovering after his lifesaving surgery at UPMC Presbyterian. Photo credit: "UPMC"

Suffering from cystic fibrosis and rejecting the transplanted lungs he had gotten just two years ago, Jon Sacker, 33, came to UPMC from his hometown in Moore, Oklahoma, as a last resort. But when his carbon dioxide levels spiked, making him too sick for another transplant, his family feared the worst.

“I thought I had brought my husband here to die,” said Mr. Sacker’s wife, Sallie.

Instead, UPMC clinicians turned to a Pittsburgh-made device called the Hemolung Respiratory Assist System (RAS) that would filter out harmful carbon dioxide and provide healthy oxygen to his blood, giving Mr. Sacker a chance to gain enough strength to undergo a lifesaving transplant. In February, he became the first person in the U.S. to be implanted with the Hemolung RAS; in March, he underwent a double lung transplant and today is on the road to recovery.

Read the full press release.

Downloadable Images

Hemolung RAS machine

The Hemolung RAS removed carbon dioxide from Jon Sacker’s lungs and delivered oxygen directly to his blood, enabling him to be healthy enough for a double lung transplant.