A box that ‘reconditions’ donor lungs

A machine that ‘reconditions’ a donor’s lungs outside the body before being transplanted into a recipient is undergoing tests in the United States in the hope that it can radically improve survival rates for people with chronic respiratory diseases.

The XPS, manufactured by Swedish company XVIVO Perfusion , is in clinical trials at 16 U.S. medical centers. Known as “the box,” it ventilates the lungs after removal from the donor and infuses them with a fluid mix of drugs and steroids, effectively drying them out and getting them in better shape for use in a transplant operation.

The technology aims to increase the donor pool by reconditioning marginal lungs not suitable for transplant.

“It allows the lungs to stay alive ... and allows us as providers to assess the function of the organ in a unique, well-controlled environment,” said Varun Puri, an associate professor of cardiothoracic surgery at Washington University in St. Louis.

Michele Coleman, 63, credits ‘the box’ with saving her life. A former smoker, she was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a lung ailment with no cure.

Last year, Ms. Coleman’s doctors asked if she wanted to participate in a clinical trial, explaining that she would receive donor lungs that needed to take an out-of-body detour for reconditioning before her transplant.

“It’s scary, but anything that they could give me was going to be better than I had, and actually I figured I wouldn’t make it to the end of the year,” she said.

The machine is made of a ventilator to simulate breathing and a bypass machine to perfuse the organs with a drug-laden solution aimed at improving their respiratory function. — Reuters

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 2:11:39 PM |

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