By Kayla Santos
New technology is shown to improve the health and vitality of lungs to be transplanted. The medical device company TransMedics has created a machine (the Organ Care System) that keeps lungs “breathing” while outside of the body, allowing the lungs to remain in an active state. The lungs are kept warm and are saturated with oxygen as well as red blood cells. To date, the routine care for lungs being transplanted is to keep them on ice in a cooler until they reach the organ recipient. According to Dr. Abbas Ardenhali, director of Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center’s heart and lung program, storing lungs on ice does not allow for the reconditioning of the lungs before transplant. Keeping the lungs on a breathing machine improves function, when compared to lungs on ice. The machine is still being tested and has not yet been introduced to hospitals across the United States. The first patient to receive a breathing lung in the United States was a 57-year old man diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. The surgery was performed in November of 2012 and months after the surgery, he claims to feel “really good”. In addition to the lungs, the heart is another major organ for which the company will create an Organ Care System. If successful the machines could prove invaluable to the future of medicine.
Read more here.