Pioneering Ismaili transplant surgeon from Toronto – Shaf Keshavjee

Artificial lung keeps young mother alive


From Thursday’s Globe and Mail

Shortly after Yen Tran gave birth to her son, Kenny, now 14 months old, the Markham woman started to feel short of breath.

As her condition worsened, Ms. Tran, 21, was diagnosed with primary pulmonary hypertension, a rare lung disorder.

The disease left her struggling to breathe and unable even to play with her new baby and twin toddlers. Her weakness made her think “I wasn’t qualified to be a mom,” Ms. Tran told a press conference Wednesday as she celebrated Valentine’s Day with the team from Toronto General Hospital who made medical history as they saved her life.



Shaf Keshavjee’s Information

“We were doing cardio-pulmonary resuscitation while the device was going in, and we managed to put her on the device and support her, and she did not develop any other organ failure until we could get suitable organs,” said Dr. Shaf Keshavjee, director of the hospital’s lung-transplant program.


The $5,000 device, about the size of a CD case, is connected to an artery in the patient’s leg. Blood flows through it, across a thin membrane attached to an oxygen supply. Carbon dioxide is exchanged for oxygen, and the blood flows back into a vein in the leg.

Dr. Keshavjee said that doctors at the hospital, who are starting a formal trial of the device, hope to make regular use of it to keep patients alive while awaiting lung transplants.

Waiting times have gone down, but “still, 20 per cent of people waiting for a lung transplant will die before they get a suitable lung. This device provides a little bit of hope to those patients,” Dr. Keshavjee said.

It still is not clear how long the device, known to doctors as an interventional lung assist or iLA, can be used on a patient. To date, it has been used for up to a month.

Dr. Keshavjee said they will also test it as a way to help patients recover from a lung transplant. The second use of the Novalung at Toronto General was with a patient whose new lung did not begin to operate immediately.

Dr. Keshavjee said the team will be examining whether the device could also be used to supplement conventional ventilators, which can damage lungs at high air pressures.

Globe and Mail

Article on Keshavjee Family History

Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

9 thoughts

  1. A great surgery for lung transplant.One of my Friends in MUmbai is suffering from Lung weakness for more than one year.This kind of surgery gives lot of hope for such patients. congratulations on this groundbreaking transplant.

    Ramanadham–Mumbai M–982029783


  2. There is such a lot to achieve in the area of medical science …congratulations to you Dr. Shaf and your team! Keep the good work going! Bless you!

    NS / Islamabad. Pak


  3. Congrajulations We are so proud of you!!!!!!!!!! you are representing our community in exactly the way our Mowla wants us to !!!He must be soooooo proud of you.Keep it up!!!!


  4. As a mother, with a daughter diagnosed with Idiopathic PH in Sept./08, I am thrilled to hear Toronto has such an intelligent doctor in our midst. How may we be introduced?


  5. Thank you a million times for creating an awesome treatment of lung disorder. As a fellow Ismaily member, I am delighted of your success and congratulate you.You have pioneered a way that will bless so many lives with life. God bless you!


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