Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pioneering lung operation could boost transplants

Toronto General Hospital, where I received my lung transplant, is a pioneer in lung transplant research and has already performed three ex-vivo procedures as part of a study started this fall. I'm happy to see other centers adopting this approach because it will make a big difference in saving lives by getting patients off the waiting lists. Presently, only about one in five donor lungs turns out to be suitable for transplant. With this new ex-vivo procedure physicians expect that approximately three in five donor lungs will become acceptable for transplant.

From WalesOnline

“We have around 30 patients who have consented to be transplanted using ex-vivo organs and I am confident that many lives will be saved using this technique.”

A 55-YEAR-OLD man has become the first person in the UK to receive a life-saving transplant using lungs which were made to breathe outside the body, it was revealed today.

Kenneth Collins from North Wales had the pioneering ex-vivo, or outside the body, procedure during a 14-hour operation at the University Hospital of South Manchester.

The hospital’s transplant team removed lungs from a dead donor and used a machine to pump them with blood and oxygen to keep them healthy for a longer period than they would normally survive outside the body.
The lungs were then monitored and judged to be of a high enough quality to use safely in a transplant.

Previously, lungs could only be tested for suitability while they were still inside living donors in intensive care.

The new procedure means many more lungs could become available, benefiting up to 25% more patients in need of a transplant every year.

Mr Collins’ operation, which took place seven weeks ago, marks the first time the ex-vivo method has been used in the world outside Sweden.

The father-of-two said he felt “10 or 15 years younger”.

He added: “I am very grateful to the hospital and the team that I have been able to benefit from this new technique. I agreed to take part because I felt I had nothing to lose and wanted to have a transplant as soon as possible.”

Nizar Yonan, director of transplant at the hospital, said: “Mr Collins is making excellent progress and is an example of how this procedure benefits patients who may otherwise have died waiting for a transplant due to the national shortage of lungs.

“We have around 30 patients who have consented to be transplanted using ex-vivo organs and I am confident that many lives will be saved using this technique.”

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