A 20-year-old student has become the recipient of the first double lung transplant of its kind in Ireland.

Leigh Bagnall, from Drogheda, has cystic fibrosis and had to drop out of college two years ago when she was placed on oxygen full-time.

She recently underwent the double lung transplant operation at the Mater University Hospital in Dublin.

The procedure, called Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion Transplantation, is a relatively new technique which involves reconditioning donor lungs, outside the body, making lungs previously classed as unsuitable safe for transplant.

The surgeon who led the historic lung transplant, Dr Karen Redmond, said the procedure has huge potential to substantially increase the size of the lung donor pool.

For every two organ donors currently deemed unsuitable for transplant, the process can restore the lungs of one organ donor, dramatically increasing the availability of donor lungs for transplant.

The EVLP process uses a ventilator and a special fluid is used to clear the blood vessels, clots and remove toxins from the lungs.

Ms Bagnall said she is now off oxygen and plans to return to college in September to study make-up artistry.

She said she will be forever indebted to the donor and the family, as well as the hospital staff.