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Breathing life into injured lungs: World-first technique will expand lung donor organ pool
Date:12/19/2008

applied in the Toronto XVIVO Perfusion System so that transplant outcomes can be further improved. The potential exists to immunologically pre-prepare the organ before it even sees the recipient's immune system."

He explained that currently only about 15%-20% of donor lungs are acceptable for transplantation since lungs are susceptible to injuries during the brain-death process or from intensive care unit-related lung complications. These numbers can easily be doubled with this technique to treat and improve donor lungs.

Dr. Marcelo Cypel, a transplant surgical fellow at TGH, echoed Dr. Keshavjee's sentiments. "This new technique heralds the beginning of a new era in transplantation since it has allowed us to progress from preserving donor lungs to actually being able to repair some of the injury before transplantation. And we have done this using a unique strategy on donor lungs outside the body."

After the donor lungs are removed from a deceased donor and taken to the hospital, they are carefully transferred to a protective, transparent bubble-like chamber that the Toronto team developed in collaboration with Vitrolife, a company specializing in developing lung preservation solutions To avoid injuring the lungs, a series of precise steps are followed when connecting them to a circuit composed of a pump, ventilator and filters through which flow oxygen, nutrients and a special solution. The temperature is incrementally increased until it reaches 37 degrees Celsius over about 30 minutes, and ventilation of the lungs is begun during that time. Lung function is evaluated regularly on key indicators, such as how easily the lungs can exchange oxygen, airway pressure and lung compliance. Previously published research by Drs. Keshavjee and Cypel on this system (December 2008 issue of the Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation) has shown that lungs can be safely kept on this circuit for 12 hours in order to assess, maintain and treat
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Contact: Linda Domenichini
linda.domenichini@uhn.on.ca
41-634-048-006-309
University Health Network
Source:Eurekalert

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