Samantha Ciurlini,12 years post double lung transplant, returns from the World Transplant Games in Perth with a gold medal and three silver ones, April 24, 2023

Samantha Ciurlini’s journey with pulmonary arterial hypertension began in 2005 when she received her diagnosis. Twelve years ago, she underwent a life-changing double lung transplant surgery at the renowned Vienna General Hospital (AKH). Prior to her diagnosis, Samantha had a passion for volleyball and even played at a semi-professional level. Despite the challenges she faced, Samantha’s determination and resilience allowed her to return to training and sports shortly after her life-saving transplant. Her story is a testament to the indomitable spirit and unwavering strength of individuals living with pulmonary hypertension.

Fresh from her participation in the 24th edition of the World Transplant Games held in Perth, Australia from 15 to 21 April, Samantha showcased her exceptional athletic prowess by capturing a well-deserved gold medal in volleyball, while also securing three impressive silver medals in athletics, specifically in shot put, race walk, and throw ball. Samantha had previously taken part in two other editions of the World Transplant Games.

In 2017, Samantha Ciurlini embarked on a groundbreaking scientific expedition organized by the MedUni Vienna and Vienna General Hospital, which took her to the majestic heights of Mount Kilimanjaro, standing tall at 5,895 meters. Samantha was one of ten exceptional patients who participated in this remarkable journey, each of them having undergone a lung transplant at the Department of Thoracic Surgery of MedUni Vienna and Vienna General Hospital. Notably, one participant had even undergone a combined lung/liver transplant.

The primary objective of this expedition was to showcase the level of fitness and improved quality of life that lung transplant patients can achieve following their life-changing surgery. Throughout the expedition, the participants received meticulous medical supervision, with a team of 24 dedicated medical professionals comprising doctors, physiotherapists, and nurses closely monitoring their well-being. The collected data were subjected to rigorous scientific analysis, encompassing vital signs, blood gases, kidney values, electrolyte levels, and the assessment of altitude sickness scores.

Ensuring the utmost precaution and care, the participants received hepatitis A immunoglobulin as a preventive measure both before embarking on the expedition and during their ascent. This comprehensive medical approach exemplified the commitment to the safety and well-being of the participants throughout their awe-inspiring journey.

Samantha’s participation in this scientific expedition is yet another testament to her extraordinary accomplishments and unwavering determination to inspire others facing similar challenges. Her remarkable journey continues to serve as a beacon of hope, illuminating the possibilities that lie beyond adversity.

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