Patients on the lung transplant waiting list may soon receive donor lungs that never took a last breath.
Researchers at UCLA are testing a new organ-preservation system that delivers donor lungs while they are still fully functional, rather than on ice. The high-tech box keeps the lungs warm and perfused with oxygen during transport.
The first "breathing lung" transplant took place at UCLA in November, and the patient responded well. Over the next few years more than 200 patients in the US, Europe, Canada and Australia will test the device.
The study is funded by the manufacturer; Trans Medics inc. Doctors say testing donor lungs with this device will help them learn sooner whether the lungs are viable for transplant.
It could also expand the donor pool since the organs can be kept alive longer and therefore travel longer distances.
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