Cadaver lung donors: Effect of preharvest ventilation on graft function

Karl S. Ulicny, Thomas M. Egan, C. Jake Lambert, Robert L. Reddick, Benson R. Wilcox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


The pulmonary donor pool would increase substantially if lungs could be safely transplanted after cessation of circulation. To determine whether ventilation of cadaver lungs could improve graft function, canine donors were sacrificed and then ventilated with 100% oxygen (n = 6) or 100% nitrogen (n = 6); 6 served as nonventilated controls. Four hours after death, the lungs were flushed with modified Euro-Collins solution and harvested. Controls were ventilated with 100% oxygen only during flush and harvest. Recipients were rendered dependent on the transplanted lung by occlusion of the right pulmonary artery and bronchus 1 hour after transplantation. Ventilation was maintained at a constant inspired oxygen fraction of 0.4. Four controls died of pulmonary edema shortly after occlusion of the native lung. The mean arterial oxygen tensions in the oxygen-ventilated, nitrogen-ventilated, and control groups at the end of 8 hours were 81 mm Hg (n = 4), 88 mm Hg (n = 3), and 55 mm Hg (n = 2), respectively. Postmortem oxygen ventilation improved early recipient survival and gas exchange. Postmortem nitrogen ventilation improved early gas exchange and delayed recipient death compared with nonventilated controls. The mechanics of ventilation appears to confer a functional advantage independent of a continued supply of oxygen. Transplantation of lungs harvested from cadavers after cessation of circulation might be feasible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1185-1191
Number of pages7
JournalThe Annals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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