Study finds lungs from heavy smokers OK for transplant

January 29, 2013
Study: lungs from heavy smokers OK for transplant
But recipients need to know the source of the potential transplant, researchers say.

(HealthDay)—Lungs of heavy smokers can be donated safely for use in adult double-lung transplants, a new study contends.

Researchers from Temple University in Philadelphia found that lungs from carefully selected donors who smoked at least a pack a day for more than 20 years may be used in certain transplant situations without affecting recipients' or deaths from lung cancer.

The study authors said the use of lungs donated by heavy smokers could help more patients get the life-saving double-lung transplant they need.

"Our findings demonstrate that the current criteria for can potentially be revised to include donors with a heavy smoking history," Dr. Sharven Taghavi, from Temple University Hospital, said in a news release from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. "This may help decrease the shortage of and decrease mortality."

"For example, a surgeon may choose to transplant lungs from a healthy donor who has good lung function despite heavy smoking, or lungs may be accepted from a less-than-ideal for a very sick patient," Taghavi said.

In conducting the study, the researchers examined data from the United Network for Organ Sharing on 5,900 people who received a double-lung transplant between 2005 and 2011. Of these patients, 13 percent received lungs donated by a heavy smoker.

The study found that patients who received carefully screened lungs from donors who smoked had short- and medium-term survival rates similar to those who got lungs from people who didn't smoke. The researchers added that the of the patients who received lungs from heavy smokers was not worse and there was no difference in deaths from cancer.

The study's authors noted, however, that lungs from heavy smokers must be examined closely to ensure they are free of cancer and other disease.

Dr. Yoshiya Toyoda, also from Temple, said the smoking history of the patients providing the lungs might not always be accurate.

"Lungs from heavy must be carefully evaluated," Toyoda said in the news release. "We recommend a CT scan for evidence of tumors and emphysema in addition to routine assessment including blood gas, bronchoscopy and visual inspection."

Toyoda also said potential recipients of lungs from must be made aware of the possible higher risk of developing .

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute reports that every year only 50 percent of people who need a double-lung transplant will actually get one. Complicating matters, double-lung transplants now outnumber single-lung transplants.

More than 1,600 people were on the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network waiting list for a lung transplant at the end of 2012, the study authors said.

The study was to be presented Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons in Los Angeles. Research presented at medical meetings is considered preliminary because it hasn't been subjected to the same scrutiny as studies published in peer-reviewed publications.

Explore further: Policy of including smokers in donor pool improves survival rates for patients on lung transplant waiting lists

More information: The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more on lung transplants.

Related Stories

Policy of including smokers in donor pool improves survival rates for patients on lung transplant waiting lists

May 28, 2012
New research shows that lung transplant patients who receive the lungs of smokers have a better overall chance of survival than those who remain on waiting lists, despite the fact that they tend to survive for a shorter period ...

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, ...

Lung transplant system often skips over those most in need

January 31, 2012
The current system for allocating donated lungs based on proximity and not on need appears to decrease the potential benefits of lung transplantation and increase the number of patients who die waiting, researchers said at ...

New use of artificial lung device pioneered at University of Kentucky

August 4, 2011
Surgeons at the University of Kentucky on Aug. 3 announced that they were among the first to use artificial-lung technology to demonstrate the feasibility of a lung transplant, using a device invented by two university faculty ...

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 ...

Recommended for you

Drug may help surgical patients stop opioids sooner

December 13, 2017
(HealthDay)—Opioid painkillers after surgery can be the first step toward addiction for some patients. But a common drug might cut the amount of narcotics that patients need, a new study finds.

Children best placed to explain facts of surgery to patients, say experts

December 13, 2017
Getting children to design patient information leaflets may improve patient understanding before they have surgery, finds an article in the Christmas issue of The BMJ.

Burn victim saved by skin grafts from identical twin (Update)

November 23, 2017
A man doomed to die after suffering burns across 95 percent of his body was saved by skin transplants from his identical twin in a world-first operation, French doctors said Thursday.

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.

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.