First 'breathing lung' transplant on East Coast using OCS lung

UPMC surgeons have performed a "breathing lung" transplant using a portable machine that provides a constant supply of blood and nutrients to the donor organs, which doctors say has the potential to keep them healthier and viable for longer than ever before.

The double-lung transplant was performed March 4 at , using the Organ Care System, also known as the OCS lung, by TransMedics Inc. This is the first time the device has been used on the East Coast. The patient, a 53-year-old man from Moundsville, W.Va., had suffered from and . He was in good condition Wednesday.

Traditionally, are cooled and put on ice with no , a process that essentially puts them to sleep. Once removed from a blood supply, though, the lungs can deteriorate rapidly, which can lead to complications for the recipient or, in some cases, the determination that the organs are no longer viable. Using the OCS device, the lungs are immediately placed in the machine after donation, where they are kept at body temperature and functioning while in transit to the recipient.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

"Unfortunately, many people waiting for an die because usable donor organs aren't available. Using this method, we believe we can help more people and save lives," said Christian Bermudez, M.D., UPMC's chief of cardiothoracic transplantation who participated in the transplant surgery along with surgeon Jonathan D'Cunha, M.D. Bermudez is principal investigator of a study involving the OCS lung.

UPMC surgeons hope to enroll 10 patients in the clinical trial, which will randomize five participants to get the OCS device and five to be treated using the traditional method of care. The goal is to assess whether perfusing the lungs in the machine will decrease the chances of early dysfunction of the transplanted organ, thus resulting in better long-term function for the recipient.

"This is an exciting that has the potential to increase the organ donor pool and improve outcomes for those receiving these specially perfused lungs," said James Luketich, M.D., chair of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery.

The OCS lung machine resembles a small cart on wheels. It can monitor the organ's arterial pressure, gas exchange ratio, vascular resistance and other data through embedded sensors so doctors can get an immediate snapshot of the organ's viability.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

UCLA performs first 'breathing lung' transplant in US

Nov 26, 2012

First there was the "heart in a box," a revolutionary experimental technology that allows donor hearts to be delivered to transplant recipients warm and beating rather than frozen in an ice cooler.

Many more lungs suitable for transplantation

Jun 30, 2011

Four patients now have new lungs thanks to a purpose-built machine used for the first time worldwide by Sahlgrenska University Hospital. Acquired for research at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, ...

Recommended for you

Doctor behind 'free radical' aging theory dies

Nov 25, 2014

Dr. Denham Harman, a renowned scientist who developed the most widely accepted theory on aging that's now used to study cancer, Alzheimer's disease and other illnesses, has died in Nebraska at age 98.

Mexican boy who had massive tumor recovering

Nov 25, 2014

An 11-year-old Mexican boy who had pieces of a massive tumor removed and who drew international attention after U.S. officials helped him get treatment in the southwestern U.S. state of New Mexico is still recovering after ...

New medical device to make the mines safer

Nov 21, 2014

Dehydration can be a serious health issue for Australia's mining industry, but a new product to be developed with input from Flinders University's Medical Device Partnering Program (MDPP) is set to more effectively ...

US family gets $6.75 million in Botox case

Nov 20, 2014

A New York couple who said Botox treatment of their son's cerebral palsy left him with life-threatening complications and sued its manufacturer won a $6.75 million verdict from a federal jury on Thursday.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.