An essay by one of the top surgeons in the world in his field of double lung transplants who is an Ismaili. Dr. Shaf Keshavjee, O.C., O.Ont. has won the prestigious Order of Canada award and has done groundbreaking work in the world.
Order of Canada member Dr. Shaf Keshavjee shares his thoughts on what the next 50 years will hold in the area of his expertise. Read a mix of predictions, insights, advice and personal experiences.
By Shaf Keshavjee
Lung transplantation is a true Canadian success story. The first successful single lung transplant in the world was done at Toronto General Hospital (TGH) in 1983; the first successful double lung transplant was also performed at TGH in 1986. Further innovations have continued to emanate from the Toronto Lung Transplant Program, including the flush preservation technique to preserve lungs for over 12 hours that became the world standard. This made lung transplant safer and enabled many lung transplant teams around the world to save countless lives of patients dying of end-stage lung disease.
In 2008, we introduced ex vivo lung perfusion (EVLP) repair of donor lungs to standard clinical practice—another transformative world first for Canada.
Click here to read more https://oc50.gg.ca/en/organs-design
I cannot say enough about Professor Shaf Keshavjee. I arrived in Toronto, Canada from Pretoria, South Africa around the same time as Shaf and his family arrived in Toronto from Nairobi, Kenya in September 1973. Though he was still attending Middle School in mid-Town Toronto I could tell that he had a very curious, articulate and sharp brain, absorbing new knowledge about everything like a sponge. This trait came in handy when it was time for him to choose a specialty to pursue as a medical doctor. He chose the most difficult and delicate of all the surgical specialties: Double Lung Transplantation. Even the most careful handling of fragile donor lungs inevitably causes them some damage. Shaf’s razor-sharp research brain led him to discover and invent various techniques to greatly increase the viability of donor lungs. He describes them in the above article. This, coupled with his superb surgical technique, is the main reason so many young people(all of whom would otherwise die prematurely) are walking around, reinvigorated and healthy, having being blessed with new donor lungs. Surgical residents come from all over the world to watch him operate and learn his techniques. When Professor Shaf Keshavjee and a Chinese Lung transplant surgeon jointly carried out China’s very first Double Lung Transplant the Chinese Government issue a new postage stamp in their honour for performing this procedure successfully. Shaf’s abilities as both a medical researcher and surgeon have dramatically increased the survivability of Double Lung Transplantation all over the world and for that he should win the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology!
Dr. K and his team saved my life in 2002. I was 23 and dying… fast. My heart was failing and causing dangerous blood pressures in my lungs as well. I was given a tiny change to survive. Most teams would not have put me on their transplant list (I was bad for success statistics). Dr. Shaf and his team took a change on me.
I’m here 15 years later. I have a wife and 3 healthy children. All thanks to Dr. K and his team. He is working miracles. Thank God for his work!
Thanks for sharing that heartwarming information Mark. Undoubtedly this was Providence working through the mind and hands of Dr K to bring you back from the brink🙏😇😀🌼🇨🇦👍