Clinical Trial Suggests Paradigm Shift for Lung Transplantation

April 25, 2023
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    Lung preservation times could be safely prolonged beyond that of the current standard of practice using a simple 10°C static lung preservation strategy, according to a team of scientists at the Toronto Lung Transplant Program in the Ajmera Transplant Centre at the University Health Network (UHN).

    Lungs available for transplant are currently limited by the length of time a donor organ can be kept viable. Increasing storage time allows for viable donor lungs to come from greater distances, increasing the potential for greater numbers of lungs becoming available for transplant and overcoming many of the hurdles around transplant logistics.

    Cold Static Donor Lung Preservation: New Gold Standard Practice in Transplantation

    In transplants, we still see a critical shortage of organs and people dying on the waitlist because there are not enough lungs to be transplanted. But the results of the trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine Evidence show the way for better organ preservation in transplants.

    The trial took place over 18 months at UHN’s Toronto General Hospital, the Medical University of Vienna, and Hospital Universitario Puerta de Hierro-Majadahonda in Madrid. The ability to extend the lifespan of the donor organ poses several advantages.

    Ultimately, these advantages will allow for more lungs to be utilized across farther geographies and the ability to improve recipient outcomes by converting lung transplantation into a planned rather than urgent procedure.

    Some advantages of this new 10 degrees Celsius standard for lung storage include the potential to reduce or eliminate the 24/7 schedule and urgency of lung transplant procedures. By increasing the length of time the donors lungs are viable, transplant surgeries could become planned procedures, which avoids bumping scheduled surgeries and overnight transplantation.

    This advancement in practice comes at a critical time when hospital resources are stretched and there are increased surgical backlogs due to the pandemic.

    The study also suggests the new preservation temperature will allow more time to optimize immunologic matching between donor and recipients, and the possibility of performing lung transplantation in a semi-elective rather than urgent fashion.


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