Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion
This image of the week shows donor lungs being prepped for transplant surgery. Lung transplantation is a live saving surgery for patients with certain types of end-stage lung disease, but availability is limited because not all donor lungs are safe for transplantation. It is estimated that fewer than 20% of donor lungs are deemed suitable for transplant due to injury during preservation.
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This image provides a rare look into ex vivo lung perfusion (EVLP), an emergent therapy applied to donor lungs to improve organ quality prior to transplantation.
Ventilation and perfusion machines used for lung preservation in the past have failed due to the development of tissue edema and increased pulmonary vascular resistance. EVLP uses a special solution which prevents the development of pulmonary edema.
EVLP involves a 3- to 4-hour period during which donor lungs are placed inside a sterile plastic dome attached to a ventilator, pump and filters, according to Penn Transplant Institute in Philadelphia, one of six sites in the United States that offer the procedure. The donor lungs are maintained at normal body temperature and treated with a bloodless solution that contains nutrients, proteins, and oxygen. Before transplantation, lung function is evaluated continuously on several key indicators.
To see more cases like this, visit Figure 1.