LIFESTYLE

Poo Transplant From Daughter Cures 75-Year-Old's Life-Threatening Bowel Infection

13/04/2015 13:20 BST | Updated 13/04/2015 13:59 BST

A man has been cured of a potentially life-threatening bowel infection after undergoing a poo transplant from his daughter.

Len Barnes from Eaglescliffe, Stockton, suffered from severe pain and diarrhoea as a result of a bacterial infection, Clostridium Difficile (CDiff).

The condition is known to affect the digestive system and can cause high fevers and painful abdominal cramps. If left untreated, it can also lead to life-threatening complications such as severe swelling of the bowel.

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Len Barnes (right) with his daughter, Debbie

The infection left 75-year-old Barnes with no appetite and, as a result, he was rapidly losing weight.

After being treated with antibiotics - but to no avail - and spending long periods of time in hospital, Barnes' condition was not improving.

At this point, he had lost nearly three stone in weight.

As a last resort, doctors suggested a more unusual approach to getting his bowel back in action - a faecal transplant.

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Initially, when consultant gastroenterologist Chris Wells suggested the transplant, Barnes thought he was joking.

"I'd never heard of it before," he said. "I thought, come on, you're taking the Mickey.

"Dr Wells explained that mixing healthy poo with my poo and transferring it back into my bowel mixed with warm water would give someone’s healthy bacteria the chance to fight with my bad bacteria."

With such an unusual type of transplant, there were concerns over finding a donor.

But thankfully for Barnes, his 52-year-old daughter Debbie immediately offered her assistance.

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Hotel general manager Debbie's stools were tested to make sure they were suitable and free from harmful bacteria.

On the day of the transplant, Debbie's stools were mixed in warm water and put into her father’s bowel.

The procedure, which took place in the endoscopy suite at the University Hospital of North Tees, lasted for about an hour.

Barnes said: "I had a bit of sedation but watched it all happening on the screen in the endoscopy unit. It was interesting!

"I knew it had worked straightaway."

The following day, Barnes was allowed to go home and everything was back to normal for the 75-year-old.

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Consultant gastroenterologist Chris Wells

Consultant gastroenterologist Chris Wells revealed that while the thought of faecal transplantation doesn't sound very appealing, "it’s a very effective remedy in patients like Len".

He added: "Transplanting faeces from one person to another does seem a bit unusual but actually it’s using healthy gut bacteria to fight off infection.

"Our bowels are packed full of billions of bacteria and these play an important role in maintaining health."

Dr Wells said there had been a significant reduction in the number of CDiff cases in the trust over the past few years but it was reassuring to know that faecal transplant was now an option to treat the condition.