Brownsburg man undergoes ‘game-changing’ surgery

Damon Bradtmueller is the first in Indiana to receive a “breathing lung” transplant. (WISH Photo)
Damon Bradtmueller is the first in Indiana to receive a “breathing lung” transplant. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A Brownsburg man is out of the hospital after having what doctors are calling a “game-changing” lung transplant.

Damon Bradtmueller is the first in Indiana to receive a “breathing lung” transplant. The surgery was performed at IU Health Methodist Hospital.

Rather than being transported cold, the lungs were transported in a TransMedics system while warm and breathing, with blood pumping through it.

“We created an environment that pretty much mimics the lung being inside a normal body,” said Dr. I-wen Wang who performed the surgery.

Wang says the traditional method of cooling and warming the organs damages them.

“I think we all expect the results will be better and this will ultimately be a game-changer in how we do transplants down the road,” Wang said.

Bradtmueller was diagnosed with scleroderma, which is an autoimmune disease that affected his esophagus and lungs.

“It’s a minor set back, but life goes on and you just enjoy everyday,” Bradtmueller said.

He spent more than three weeks in the hospital.

While he will have to go through rehab and take medication for the rest of his life, doctors say he will be able to return to normal activities.

Bradtmueller says he’s most looking forward to getting back to volunteering in his community and home-cooked meals.

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