History Is Made In US!

(DCWatchdog.com) – Making history for the first time in the U.S., patient John Nicolas found himself deeply engaged with doctors as they performed a kidney transplant while awake, which made him the first person to undergo such a procedure.

“At one point during surgery, I recall asking, ‘Should I be expecting the spinal anesthesia to kick in?’” 28-year-old Nicolas recalled in a news release. “They had already been doing a lot of work and I had been completely oblivious to that fact. Truly, no sensation whatsoever.”

Instead of using general anesthesia, the doctors employed a single spinal anesthesia injection to numb Nicolas while keeping him alert.

Doctors explained that this new method could potentially make kidney transplantation accessible to patients whose health conditions put them at high risk for general anesthesia.

Nicolas left the hospital the day after his successful surgery on May 24. Typically, kidney transplant patients spend two to three days in the hospital.

Dr. Satish Nadig, a transplant surgeon and director of the Northwestern Medicine Comprehensive Transplant Center, said, “Inside the operating room, it was an incredible experience being able to show a patient what their new kidney looked like before placing it inside the body.”

“The other exciting element is that the patient was able to be discharged home in less than 24 hours, basically making this an outpatient procedure,” Nadig added.

Moreover, Nicolas’ surgical team completed his kidney transplant in less than two hours, using anesthesia similar to that used during a cesarean section.

Dr. Vicente Garcia Tomas, chief of regional anesthesiology and acute pain medication at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, claimed that doing anesthesia for the awake kidney transplant was easier than a C-section.

Nicolas did not have any health risks that would have prevented the use of general anesthesia, and he did not have any fears about it.

In fact, his age and minimal risk factors made him an ideal candidate to participate in this medical first, and Nicolas eagerly accepted the opportunity.

“It was a pretty cool experience to know what was happening in real time and to be aware of the magnitude of what they were doing,” Nicolas said.

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