Len Rome’s Local Health: Lung transplants

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A new machine could potentially lead to more usable lungs for transplant

(WYTV) – Unfortunately, 80% of donated lungs go unused.

In some cases, the timing isn’t right or the organ simply isn’t good enough.

But surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic have a new machine that may help change that and save more lives.

They’re using what’s called the ex-vivo lung perfusion machine.

Dr. Kenneth McCurry, of the Cleveland Clinic, said, “The ex-vivo lung machine is a way we have, sort of, taking lungs that are either questionable from a function standpoint for transplant or lungs that we simply need a little bit better assessment outside of the body to determine whether they’re transplantable.”

The donor lungs go under a plastic dome, and doctors push solutions through them as they “breath.” They then see how the lung does over the next few hours.

If they work well on the machine and everything else looks OK, then the transplant can go ahead.

Again, it’s done at the Cleveland Clinic, and doctors there are hoping the ex-vivo machine increases the number of lungs available to people on the transplant waiting list. 

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