Successful transplantation of lungs topically cooled in the non-heart-beating donor for 6 hours
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BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to transplant lungs that had been topically cooled in the non-heart-beating donor for 6 hours, using the most challenging evaluation method possible, namely single-lung transplantation followed by immediate contralateral pneumonectomy. METHODS: Domestic pigs were used (6 donors and 6 recipients) with a mean body weight of 59 +/- 3 kg. Ventricular fibrillation was induced, and after 1 minute, cardiac massage was started and heparin (5 mg/kg body weight) was given via a central venous catheter. Cardiac massage was continued for 10 minutes, during which the pig was ventilated with 50% oxygen. The pleural cavities were opened and the tracheal tube disconnected from the ventilator, with the result that both lungs deflated. Saline slush was placed in both pleural cavities so that it completely covered the lungs. Within 40 minutes the lung core temperature was less than 10 degrees C, and it was kept around 8 degrees C for 6 hours by adjusting the amounts of ice slush. The left lung was then harvested and transplanted into a prepared recipient, followed by right pneumonectomy within 46 +/- 4 minutes, thus making the recipient pig 100% dependent on the transplanted cadaver lung. RESULTS: The mean ischemic time for the cadaver lungs was 8 hours and 2 minutes (range, 7 hours and 25 minutes to 8 hours and 59 minutes). All animals remained in excellent condition throughout the 24-hour observation period, with arterial oxygen tensions of approximately 225 mm Hg, or 30 kPa (inspired oxygen fraction, 0.5). CONCLUSIONS: Lungs from non-heart-beating donors may be used for transplantation if heparinization and topical cooling can be initiated within minutes of irreversible cardiac arrest.