Maintaining a low level of air pressure in the lungs at all times avoids this, he said.
"The researchers took a growing trend and provided a good, thorough, scientific validation," Camp said. "This kind of thoughtful approach can improve the quality of the donor lungs we have, which in the end can mean more donor lungs for recipients."
Typically, about 15 to 20 percent of lungs from people who are brain dead are viable for transplantation, according to the study. Camp said that kidneys and livers are relatively easy to keep viable for transplant, but hearts and lungs are more difficult.
Using the protocols at U.S. hospitals has the potential to virtually eliminate the lung shortage, Roberts said.
"If you can double the amount of lungs available for transplants, that can almost wipe out the shortage between what is demanded and what is available," Roberts said. "It would make a huge difference."
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more on lung transplant.
SOURCES: Mark S. Roberts, M.D., M.P.P, chairman, department of health policy and management, School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Phillip Camp, M.D., director, lung transplant program, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston; Dec. 15, 2010, Journal of the American Medical Association
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