Study shows promise for donor lung preservation device

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A landmark study conducted by a team of researchers found that a portable perfusion device was associated with less primary graft dysfunction, a syndrome of acute lung injury that occurs within the first 72 hours after transplantation, compared to standard ice preservation of a donor lung during transportation from donor to transplant patient. Their work was published recently in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

“This was the largest trial of its kind in the history of organ preservation and marks the first improvement in donor lung preservation in over a decade,” said Dr. Gabriel Loor, director of lung transplantation in the division of cardiothoracic transplantation and circulatory support in the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery at Baylor who is one of the authors on the paper. Loor serves as the surgical director of the lung transplant program at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center. The research was conducted while Loor was an assistant professor in the division of cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

The Organ Care System INSPIRE trial was an international, randomized controlled trial evaluating the impact of a portable perfusion, ventilation and monitoring system that maintains the lungs in a near physiologic state, allowing surgeons to supply the donor lung with fluid and ventilate it between the donor and recipient states.

The traditional method of preserving a donor organ is to place it on ice in a cooler for transport.

“Graft dysfunction is the No. 1 cause of poor patient outcomes after lung transplantation. Patients who get less graft dysfunction should expect a better hospital and long-term outcome,” Loor said.

The lungs on the portable perfusion device were associated with less primary graft dysfunction than the standard ice preservation. Of the 141 patients in the group of transplants where the portable perfusion device was used, the incidence of primary graft dysfunction within 72 hours was 17.7 percent, compared to 29.7 percent of the 165 patients in the control group with standard ice preservation.

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Corey Bryant serves as Director of Communications for The Alliance.
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