Cleveland Clinic: Infection caused complication in uterus transplant

Uterus transplant: What went wrong?
Doctors performing first uterus transplant. (Source: Cleveland Clinic)
Doctors performing first uterus transplant. (Source: Cleveland Clinic)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland Clinic doctors who performed the first uterus transplant have pinpointed why the transplant was unsuccessful.

Last month, the patient who received the first United States uterus transplant had a "sudden complication" and the organ had to be removed.

"Preliminary results suggest that the complication was due to an infection caused by an organism that is commonly found in a woman's reproductive system. The infection appears to have compromised the blood supply to the uterus, causing the need for its removal," according to the Clinic. "There is an ongoing review of all the data and the team is modifying the protocol to reduce the chances of this complication occurring again in the future. The health of our patient is and has always been our primary concern."

The patient, a 26-year-old woman identified only as Lindsey, issued her own statement last month after the organ was removed.

"I just wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude towards all of my doctors. They acted very quickly to ensure my health and safety.  Unfortunately I did lose the uterus to complications.  However, I am doing okay and appreciate all of your prayers and good thoughts," said Lindsey.

The transplant was a part of a clinical trial at the Cleveland Clinic as a way to treat women who suffer from uterine factor infertility. The surgery removed the uterus of a deceased donor in her 30s and transplanted it into Lindsay, a married mother of three adopted boys.

According to the Clinic, the "medical team took all necessary precautions and measures to ensure the safety of our patient...while this has been difficult for both the patient and the medical team, Lindsey is doing well and recovering.

The study is ongoing, and plans to include a total of 10 women in the uterus transplant study. The first successful uterus transplant happened several years ago in Sweden, using a uterus from a live donor.

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