Surgeons perform first 'ex vivo' lung transplants

December 12, 2011, New York- Presbyterian Hospital

A 59-year-old woman from upstate New York and a 60-year-old woman from the New York metro area were the first patients in New York state and among the first in the United States to receive transplanted lungs that were assessed and reconditioned in the operating room -- a technique that has the potential to dramatically increase the availability of lungs for transplant. The experimental procedure was performed by Dr. Frank D'Ovidio at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.

The "ex vivo" or outside-the-body approach involved removing lungs from a deceased donor, then enclosing them inside a transparent dome and connecting them to a cardiopulmonary pump and a ventilator. For four hours, the lungs were infused with nutrients and antibiotics. They were gradually warmed to body temperature, ventilated and oxygenated -- a process that resembles breathing, with the lungs inflating and deflating. Once determined to be viable, the lungs were immediately transplanted into the patients.

"Assessing lungs this way gives us a much more precise picture of how they should perform after , and the reconditioning process may actually improve the chances of success," says Dr. D'Ovidio, associate surgical director of the lung transplant program at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and assistant professor of surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Traditionally, transplant surgeons have relied on a less sophisticated assessment. "Now with the ex vivo method, not only can we see the lungs inflate and deflate, but we also get hard data on how they function by monitoring multiple parameters and ultimately making sure that the gas exchange is happening at the level it needs to," continues Dr. D'Ovidio.

Going forward, the ex vivo procedure could significantly increase the availability of donor lungs, says Dr. D'Ovidio. "This has the potential to do for lung transplant what perfusion has done for . With the tool to better assess, recondition and possibly repair the organs, we can increase the number available to patients who desperately need them."

Currently, fewer than 30 percent of are acceptable for transplantation, but physicians say ex vivo has the potential to double this figure as the reconditioning process is refined and improved.

The recent transplants at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia are part of an ongoing FDA investigational multicenter clinical research trial designed to compare outcomes from transplants using the ex vivo technique with those using the traditional method. This investigational trial, currently taking place in the United States, is coordinated and funded by Vitrolife, makers of the ex vivo perfusion system.

Explore further: First US patient receives specially processed donor lungs at the University of Maryland

Related Stories

First US patient receives specially processed donor lungs at the University of Maryland

September 8, 2011
Surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center have transplanted the first lungs treated in the United States with an experimental repair process before transplantation. The procedure is part of a five-center national ...

Many more lungs suitable for transplantation

June 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, ...

Toronto XVIV0 Lung Perfusion System allows high-risk lungs to be safely transplanted

April 13, 2011
For the first time, scientists at Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network have shown in a clinical trial that the Toronto XVIVO System can safely and effectively treat, re-assess and improve the function of high-risk ...

Recommended for you

Why men say they've had more lifetime sexual partners than women

July 25, 2018
The disparity between the number of sexual partners reported by men and women can largely be explained by a tendency among men to report extreme numbers of partners, and to estimate rather than count their lifetime total, ...

Censors jump into action as China's latest vaccine scandal ignites

July 22, 2018
Chinese censors on Sunday deleted articles and postings about the vaccine industry as an online outcry over the country's latest vaccine scandal intensified.

Revenge of a forgotten medical 'genius'

June 30, 2018
It's not an uncommon fate for a pioneering scientist: languishing unrecognised in his time before dying in obscurity. But as his 200th birthday approaches, the life-saving work of a Hungarian obstetrician is finally getting ...

Yes, you can put too much chlorine in a pool

June 2, 2018
(HealthDay)—Before you take a dip in the pool this summer, be sure there's not too much chlorine in the water.

Best of Last Year—The top Medical Xpress articles of 2017

December 20, 2017
It was a good year for medical research as a team at the German center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Magdeburg, found that dancing can reverse the signs of aging in the brain. Any exercise helps, the team found, but dancing ...

Pickled in 'cognac', Chopin's heart gives up its secrets

November 26, 2017
The heart of Frederic Chopin, among the world's most cherished musical virtuosos, may finally have given up the cause of his untimely death.

0 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.