Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New lung transplant procedure could save lives

There are currently about 1800 Americans on the waiting list for a lung transplant. Lung transplants can be one of the hardest to come by because lungs are very delicate often being damaged during the final stages of life. Since nearly 85% of lungs recovered for transplant are ultimately not transplanted because of such damage, doctors have been looking for a way to "repair" such damage so that more of the available donated lungs can be used to save lives. It appears they may have found it.

Recently, researchers conducted a study on 23 sets of lungs available for transplant that were damaged in some way and would normally be rejected and not transplanted. Techniques including perfusion were used to repair these damaged lungs which ultimately resulted in 20 of the sets being used for transplant. After a month, the rate of deaths, successes, and complications was basically the same for recipients within the "repair" group as it was with recipients outside the study group who received healthy lungs which didn't need repairing before transplant. In other words, the recipients receiving "fixed" lungs did as well as the ones receiving "good" lungs. These results have been described as, "The most exciting advance in lung transplantation since we first started 25 years ago." Furthermore, there are indications that such repair techniques could also be used for livers, hearts, and other organs.

I felt like this was a great article for wrapping up my Donate Life Month blog posts because it contains great news for not only Americans needing transplants but also for people needing such surgeries all across the globe. These new techniques have the potential to save countless lives in the years to come because they will help doctors get the most out of a valuable, scarce resource. It will give spouses, fishing buddies, golfing buddies, siblings, and families everywhere extra years together. It's a win for everyone.

As I said, this is great news. However, in order for doctors to save lives, even with these new repair techniques, it requires donors. If you haven't done so yet, I want to encourage you to register as an organ and tissue donor. You can give someone in need the gift of life. I was blessed that it was done for me over four years ago. You can get more information and learn how to register by clicking on the National Donate Life Month banner at the top of this article. Do it today.

Source : article titled Lungs Can Be Fixed Before Transplantation, Study Finds  

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