Portable lung perfusion device could revolutionise transplant procedures

October 9, 2012

Donor lungs are usually flushed and preserved at cold temperatures before transplantation. The cold temperature reduces tissue decomposition, but can also result in degradation of the organ and a longer transplantation process.

The newer process of normothermic perfusion – whereby the donor lung is flushed with a blood-like mixture of anti-rejection drugs, vitamins and hormones at a similar temperature to that of the human body internally, around 37oC – has the potential to greatly improve , as previous studies have shown that the lung suffers considerably less degradation through this process, compared to standard procedures. Normothermic perfusion also has the potential to renew suboptimal , therefore vastly expanding the pool of adequately-functioning donor lungs.

Until now, the only devices capable of performing normothermic perfusion have been static, which has limited the practical potential of the technique, since to maximise its , normothermic perfusion needs to take place as soon as possible after the donor lung becomes available. This limitation has also meant that large-scale, randomised, clinical trials of the technique have been difficult to set up.

However, the new study, conducted in Germany and Spain, tested the safety and efficacy of a portable normothermic perfusion device, called the portable Organ Care System (OCS), on a group of twelve . All twelve of the donor lungs in the trial were safely and effectively preserved using the device, which means that large-scale clinical trials can now take place to assess the performance of normothermic lung perfusion against standard cold-storage techniques.

According to one of the study's authors, Dr Gregor Warnecke at the Hanover Medical School in Germany, "Our first-in-man data for the use of the OCS lung in clinical transplantation provide the first evidence for good outcomes of in a high-risk patient population. This is, of course, a proof-of-concept study, and the effectiveness of the device will need to be proven in large-scale trials. But nonetheless, the results are very encouraging and we now look forward to undertaking further research on this exciting technique."

Another study author, Dr Javier Moradiellos at the Hospital Universitario Puerta de Hierro in Madrid, Spain, adds that, "These early data also show promising potential for OCS in the assessment of uncontrolled non-heart beating donors and in maintaining the viability of lungs for extended periods of time. The over-ten-hours preservation in one of the study subjects is the longest clinical ex vivo perfusion achieved to date."

Writing in a linked Comment, Dr Jose Borro at A Coruña University Hospital in Spain, adds, "The mobility of OCS Lung certainly brings about a reduction in cold ischaemia time and allows continuous monitoring of the process, and the device's portability will surely open new avenues for development of ex-vivo lung perfusion. The data in this study are promising, but we should be cautious in our expectations until the results of the ongoing large clinical trial are reported, which could confirm the efficacy and safety of this ex-vivo lung perfusion device."

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

More information: www.thelancet.com/journals/lan … (12)61344-0/abstract

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 ...

Surgeons perform first 'ex vivo' lung transplants

December 12, 2011
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 ...

Recommended for you

Is a common shoulder surgery useless?

November 21, 2017
(HealthDay)—New research casts doubt on the true effectiveness of a common type of surgery used to ease shoulder pain.

Study shows electric bandages can fight biofilm infection, antimicrobial resistance

November 6, 2017
Researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center have shown - for the first time - that special bandages using weak electric fields to disrupt bacterial biofilm infection can prevent infections, combat antibiotic ...

Obesity increases incidence, severity, costs of knee dislocations

November 3, 2017
A new study of more than 19,000 knee dislocation cases in the U.S. between 2000 and 2012 provides a painful indication of how the nation's obesity epidemic is changing the risk, severity and cost of a traumatic injury.

Defining optimal opioid pain medication prescription length following surgery

September 27, 2017
A new study led by researchers at the Center for Surgery and Public Health at Brigham and Women's Hospital analyzed opioid prescription data from the Department of Defense Military Health System Data Repository, identifying ...

Is older blood OK to use in a transfusion?

September 27, 2017
(HealthDay)—Using older red blood cells to give transfusions to critically ill patients doesn't appear to affect their risk of dying, Australian researchers report.

One weight-loss surgery shows lasting results

September 21, 2017
(HealthDay)—Obesity surgery can have long-lasting effects on weight and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, a new study finds.

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.