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Lung Disease & Respiratory Health Center

TB Patient to Get Lung Surgery

Andrew Speaker's Lung Surgery Is Expected in July, Denver Doctors Say
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WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

June 14, 2007 -- Denver doctors today announced that Andrew Speaker is due to get lung surgery in July for his extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB).

Speaker, an Atlanta lawyer, was recently in the headlines when the CDC ordered him into medical isolation after he and his bride took two transatlantic flights.

Speaker is being treated at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver. His tuberculosis was apparently not very contagious.

Surgery can be done to remove damaged lung areas if drug treatments fail for XDR TB.

According to a news release from the National Jewish Medical and Research Center, Speaker's doctors unanimously recommended him for lung surgery.

Patient's Surgery

"Andrew Speaker is an excellent candidate for surgery," says Charles Daley, MD, in the news release.

"The infected area of his lung is relatively small and well contained. He is also young and otherwise healthy," says Daley, who heads the center's infectious disease division.

The infected area of Speaker's lung has been described as roughly the size of a tennis ball, according to the news release.

An exact date for Speaker's surgery hasn't been set yet. The timing will depend on various factors, including Speaker's current treatment with antibiotics.

The surgery will be performed by John Mitchell, MD, at the University of Colorado Hospital at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colo., according to the news release. Mitchell is expected to use a minimally invasive surgical approach; the operation is expected to take about two hours.

The purpose of the surgery is to remove as much TB infection as possible from Speaker's lungs, giving him a better chance of recovery.

According to the news release, other patients with multi-drug resistant TB (which is not as drug resistant as XDR TB), have had similar surgeries and were able to go home a month later.

However, "no one can predict the exact course of Mr. Speaker's therapy or when he will be released from the hospital," the news release states.

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