Background: Donor organ availability remains the major limiting factor in the treatment of patients with end-stage lung disease by lung transplantation. Maximising the use of available organs is therefore crucial. Details available at the time of organ referral may give a misleading impression of their quality. Intensive donor management may improve the quality of the organs thereby improving the quality of the outcome. Methods: We performed 56 heart-lung and 5 double lung transplants between November 1990 and September 1993; 49 had adequate documentation for analysis. All organs were preserved with modified cold blood solution with an ischaemic time of 197 (117-297) minutes. Assessment of lung function post-implantation was performed using an acute lung injury score as this gives a more accurate indication of overall lung function. Donors were treated intensively by bronchoscopy, optimal fluid management and appropriate lung expansion. Results: Careful management improved donor quality so that the alveolar- arterial oxygen gradient fell significantly from 185 (±20) mmHg at arrival to 80 (±11) mmHg (p < .0001) immediately prior to harvesting 190 minutes later. This improvement was maintained following harvesting using the modified cold blood preservation solution so that lung injury was assessed as 'mild' according to the acute lung injury criteria post-transplantation. There was one instance of primary lung failure following transplantation which was neither related to the quality of the organ at harvesting nor to the method of lung preservation. Conclusions: Intensive donor management significantly improves the quality of donor organs, providing an improvement in immediate post-transplantation lung function. This improvement is maintained using modified cold blood lung preservation solution.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine