France: non-transplantable lungs rehabilitated for transplanting

Publié le : 12 February 2013

 Since 2011, French surgeons of the Foch hospital in Suresnes have been using a transplanting technique that Canadian researchers developed and described in the same year in the New England Journal of Medicine. The latter succeeded in "rehabilitating" "the lungs of 23 donors whose respiratory organs were not in a sufficiently good state to be transplanted." In concrete terms, the technique consists of removing lungs from deceased donors and keeping them under a bell jar to remain moist and connected to an oxygenation device. The lungs "swell and deflate regularly;" they "‘breathe’ artificially through a nutritional liquid until the surgeons […] are ready to transplant them into the rib cage of the patient." The principal advantage of the "rehabilitation of the transplant is […] to enable the use of organs hitherto regarded as of intermediate quality by the Biomedicine Agency. A considerable advantage, because the vast majority of transplants belong in this category." Dr Edouard Sage, a thoracic surgeon at Foch hospital, points out: "thanks to this new technique of lung rehabilitation, we have been able to carry out 26 additional transplants over the past two years. After two hours of rehabilitation, the organ can be seen to have improved. In this case it can be transplanted." Dr Dorent adds, "if the studies confirm the good results observed until now, it is not impossible that we will one day be able to use the technique for all transplantable lungs."

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