Clinical Spotlight – EXVIVO Perfusion
There is an exciting new development in the world of organ donation and transplantation! The new EXVIVO (which means ‘outside the body’) Perfusion machine allows doctors to treat and assess lungs which were previously unable to be transplanted.
When donor lungs are chosen for the EXVIVO Perfusion machine, they are recovered for transplant and flushed thoroughly with preservation solution. After being packaged and transported to the transplant center, they are placed on the EXVIVO machine. The medical team is then able to perform x-rays and a host of other lab tests including oxygen levels and pH in order to assess how well the lungs are doing. Needed medications are also being delivered to the lungs throughout the perfusion process.
“Why perfuse lungs?”
When organs function well in the donor, the probability is very good the organ will also function well once it is transplanted into the recipient. However, many times, the organs exhibit only marginal function in the organ donor. In these instances, the recipient center must weigh the risk of the donor lung failing against the likelihood of their recipient dying while waiting for another offer – and we know that 22 people die every day while waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. If the lung is transplanted and does not improve, it may have a catastrophic outcome. Being able to assess and treat the organs prior to implantation allows the transplant center to make a much more informed decision. The advent of lung perfusion will result in many more lungs available for transplant and therefore, increase the number of lives we are able to save.
Lifeline of Ohio is pleased to work with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center to perfuse lungs and to ultimately, save more lives through transplantation. We are excited about the promise this technology brings to patients who are waiting for their life-saving lung transplant.