The youngest patient to receive an artificial trachea seeded with stem cells has died, The New York Times reported today. Hannah Warren, who was born with a rare birth defect that left her without a trachea, underwent surgery in April to have a synthetic trachea implanted that was seeded with stem cells from her bone marrow. She would have turned 3 in August.
Her doctors told The New York Times that her death was due to complications related to a second surgery that was needed to repair her esophagus, which had not properly healed after the initial surgery. They said that the trachea had been performing well. The experimental technique that her surgeons used has received criticism from some experts, who say that 5 years after the first recipient of a similar transplant, evidence is still lacking that the implanted tracheas are working as they should.