Purpose: This article describes an ex vivo method to recondition and transplant rejected donor lungs.
Description: A 19-year-old man was brain dead after a traffic accident. A roentgenogram showed bilateral lung contusion. He had ongoing intratracheal bleeding. After optimizing ventilator treatment and suctioning the airways, PaO2 was 9 kPa (67.5 mm Hg) on FiO2 = 0.7. The lungs were rejected by all transplantation centers in the Nordic countries. We harvested the lungs for research. The right lung was severely injured. The left lung was edematous with bleeding spots in the lower lobe, and the mediobasal segment was atelectatic. The left lung was reconditioned ex vivo and kept in topical extracorporeal membrane oxygenation until it was transplanted into a 70-year-old man with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 17 hours later.
Evaluation: The transplanted lung functioned very well, and the patient recovered uneventfully. At 3 months control, a computed tomographic thoracic scan and transbronchial biopsies showed a normal left lung, and the patient was in very good clinical condition, only to succumb to death from unrelated events 11 months after the transplantation.
Conclusions: Rejected donor lungs may be successfully transplanted after being reconditioned ex vivo.