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 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 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.
Learn more about Sacker’s story in the video above.