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Minerva Medica 2014 February;105(1 Suppl 1):17-21


language: English

Usable donor lungs: exploring the hidden part of the iceberg

Boffini M. 1, Solidoro P. 2

1 Cardiac Surgery Division, Surgical Sciences Department, University of Turin, Città della Salute e della Scienza, Turin, Italy; 2 Unit of Pneumology, Città della Salute e della Scienza di Torino, Torino, Italia


Lung transplantation (LTx) remains the only effective treatment of selected patients suffering from end-stage respiratory disease. However, its main limitation is represented by the shortage of suitable organs. In the last years, LTx is progressively changing in the clinical arena and different strategies aiming to increase the number of usable donor lungs have been reported. Many efforts have been employed to improve management of donor during donation and to treat marginal or even initially rejected grafts ex-vivo. The evolving scenario is showing excellent clinical results of the employment of those strategies. Castleberry et al. analyzed outcomes of LTx using grafts coming from brain-dead donors experiencing cardiac arrest. They examined data from the United Network for Organ Sharing database and they showed comparable results with the use of such grafts suggesting a potential way to increase the number of lung transplant procedures. The article gives a strong message to all clinicians involved in the hard field of transplantation. For those taking care of donors, they should always consider donors suffering from cardiac arrest suitable for lung donation despite pulmonary function because gas exchange can be eventually optimized with ex-vivo perfusion techniques. On the other side, surgeons should feel more comfortable using such grafts. If these lungs have a normal function while in the donor, their use for clinical transplantation provides good results and if they are dysfunctional EVLP could allow a restoration of optimal oxygenation after retrieval.

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