Artificial lung saves Missouri 2-year-old

Wednesday, August 25, 2010 | 4:05 p.m. CDT

ST. LOUIS — When 2-year-old Owen Stark arrived at St. Louis Children's Hospital, he wasn't given much chance for survival.

But doctors used a German-built artificial lung that stabilized him so well that, at least for now, he no longer needs a lung transplant.

Owen, of Eldon, was diagnosed earlier this year with idiopathic pulmonary hypertension — or high blood pressure in the lungs. He was in full heart failure when airlifted to the hospital in June, and doctors decided he needed a lung transplant.

But that can take months, and Owen couldn't wait. So doctors got special permission from the Food and Drug Administration for use of the NovaLungsLA, an artificial lung approved for use in Europe and Canada but not FDA-approved in the U.S.

Doctors said Owen is stable and may get to go home in about a month.

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