Monday, December 21, 2009

Reconditioned lungs used in UK transplant

It's gratifying to see that more centers, such as the Freeman Hospital in the UK, are using the Ex-vivo (outside the body) Lung Perfusion System that allows surgeons the opportunity to assess and treat injured donor lungs, while they are outside the body, to make them suitable for transplantation. Read my earlier post on the World-first Toronto XVIVO Lung Perfusion System.

Research breakthrough gives new life to lungs for transplantation

BBC News

Donor lungs normally rejected as too damaged can now be 'reconditioned' for transplant, say doctors.

Cystic fibrosis patient James Finlayson is the first in the UK to receive lungs revived using oxygen, nutrients and antibiotics.

Newcastle-based scientists and surgeons suggest it could eventually double the number of available organs.

Current shortages mean that many patients die waiting for their operation.

The fragile nature of the lung means that it is far more vulnerable to damage during the final hours of life.

At present, four out of five potential donor lungs turn out to be unsuitable, but the recent operation at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle was the first in the UK to use one of these 'rejected' organs.

The technique involves connecting the lungs to a heart bypass machine then pumping a tightly-controlled solution of oxygen, proteins, antibiotics and nutrients over the damaged tissues.

This helps reduce inflammation, and even allows some damage to be repaired.

Regular checks are made on the ability of the lung to do its job of exchanging oxygen and maintaining airway pressure.

After approximately six hours, the lung has been improved sufficiently to be transplanted into the patient.

'Poor condition'

Mr Finlayson was discharged from hospital at the end of November, and is said to be recovering well.

Professor Andrew Fisher, from the Institute of Cellular Medicine at Newcastle University, said that the lung chosen for the pioneering operation had been in such poor condition that it would have been "rejected outright" by any transplant centre in the world.

He said: "We now have the potential to double the number of lungs available for transplant - it will offer new hope to a great number of patients."
Canadian surgeons have been using the technique for approximately a year longer, and Professor Fisher said that early signs showed similar survival rates for patients given "reconditioned" lungs.

He said that other UK transplant centres were now involved in work to use the technique more widely, but that greater investment would be needed in transplant services if the number of operations were to rise significantly.

The research was funded by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, and a spokesman said that hundreds of people with the disease, and other lung conditions, could benefit.

She said: "At present, around half of those with Cystic Fibrosis on the transplant list die waiting for donor lungs."

Dr Keith Prowse of the British Lung Foundation said: "This is a very exciting procedure and if it leads to more lungs being available for transplant operations, it will be a hugely welcome development.

"There is an increasing demand for lung transplants but just not enough lungs available."

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Register to be an organ and tissue donor & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.

No comments: