MATTEO TZAKIS
Wilfredo Lee  /  AP
Monica di Matteo, left, of Italy, comforts her infant daughter Alessia, the recipient of an 8-organ transplant in January as Dr. Andreas Tzakis who lead the transplant teams shows a chart with the organs that were transplanted.
updated 3/22/2004 6:53:40 AM ET 2004-03-22T11:53:40

Doctors said Thursday they transplanted eight organs into an Italian baby, who is in good condition six weeks after the operation.

Alessia Di Matteo, who is now 7½ months old, received a new liver, stomach, pancreas, small intestine, large intestine, spleen and two kidneys during a 12-hour operation on Jan. 31.

Doctors at the University of Miami-Jackson Memorial Medical Center said the surgery was the world’s first eight-organ transplant. Joel Newman, spokesman for United Network for Organ Sharing, cautioned that it was difficult to confirm that the hospital had set a record because other facilities record the stomach and intestine as one organ.

Alessia, of Genoa, Italy, was born with congenital smooth muscle disorder, which prevented normal function of her stomach, intestines and kidneys. The condition is fatal if left untreated.

“In order to treat the child, one must replace all of these abdominal organs,” said Dr. Andreas Tzakis, the lead surgeon.

The child now weighs about 13 pounds and is fed through a tube, but is out of intensive care, Tzakis said. She is expected to remain in Miami several more weeks for observation.

The hospital has performed several seven-organ transplants, Tzakis said. One of them was on another baby Italian girl, Eugenia Borgo, in 1997. The girl is now in grade school and healthy, Tzakis said.

“When the patients survive and do well, they do very well,” he said.

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