Experience with the first 50 ex vivo lung perfusions in clinical transplantation
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OBJECTIVE: Normothermic ex vivo lung perfusion is a novel method to evaluate and improve the function of injured donor lungs. We reviewed our experience with 50 consecutive transplants after ex vivo lung perfusion. METHODS: A retrospective study using prospectively collected data was performed. High-risk brain death donor lungs (defined as Pao(2)/Fio(2) <300 mm Hg or lungs with radiographic or clinical findings of pulmonary edema) and lungs from cardiac death donors were subjected to 4 to 6 hours of ex vivo lung perfusion. Lungs that achieved stable airway and vascular pressures and Pao(2)/Fio(2) greater than 400 mm Hg during ex vivo lung perfusion were transplanted. The primary end point was the incidence of primary graft dysfunction grade 3 at 72 hours after transplantation. End points were compared with lung transplants not treated with ex vivo lung perfusion (controls). RESULTS: A total of 317 lung transplants were performed during the study period (39 months). Fifty-eight ex vivo lung perfusion procedures were performed, resulting in 50 transplants (86% use). Of these, 22 were from cardiac death donors and 28 were from brain death donors. The mean donor Pao(2)/Fio(2) was 334 mm Hg in the ex vivo lung perfusion group and 452 mm Hg in the control group (P = .0001). The incidence of primary graft dysfunction grade 3 at 72 hours was 2% in the ex vivo lung perfusion group and 8.5% in the control group (P = .14). One patient (2%) in the ex vivo lung perfusion group and 7 patients (2.7%) in the control group required extracorporeal lung support for primary graft dysfunction (P = 1.00). The median time to extubation, intensive care unit stay, and hospital length of stay were 2, 4, and 20 days, respectively, in the ex vivo lung perfusion group and 2, 4, and 23 days, respectively, in the control group (P > .05). Thirty-day mortality (4% in the ex vivo lung perfusion group and 3.5% in the control group, P = 1.00) and 1-year survival (87% in the ex vivo lung perfusion group and 86% in the control group, P = 1.00) were similar in both groups. CONCLUSIONS: Transplantation of high-risk donor lungs after 4 to 6 hours of ex vivo lung perfusion is safe, and outcomes are similar to those of conventional transplants. Ex vivo lung perfusion improved our center use of donor lungs, accounting for 20% of our current lung transplant activity.
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