Background: Lung transplantation activity is frustrated by donor lung availability. We sought to examine the effect of active donor management and hormone administration on pulmonary function and yield in cadaveric heart-beating potential lung donors.
Methods: We studied 182 potential lung donors (arterial oxygen tension [PaO2]/fractional inspired oxygen [FIO2] ratio > or = 230). From this group, 60 patients (120 lungs) were allocated, within a randomized trial, to receive methylprednisolone (1 g), triiodothyronine (0.8 microg/kg bolus and 0.113 microg/kg/h infusion), both methylprednisolone and triiodothyronine, or placebo as soon as feasible after consent and initial assessment. Trial donors underwent protocol-guided optimization of ventilation and hemodynamics, lung water assessment, and bronchoscopy. Function was assessed by PaO2/FIO2 ratio, extravascular lung water index (EVLWI), and pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR). A nontrial group of 122 donors (244 lungs) received similar management without bronchoscopy, pulmonary artery flotation catheter monitoring, or lung water assessment.
Results: Within the trial, management commenced within a median of 2 hours (interquartile range, 0.5 to 3.5 hours) of consent and continued for an average of 6.9 +/- 1.2 hours. The PaO2/FIO2 ratio deteriorated (p = 0.028) from 397 +/- 78 (95% CL, 376 to 417) to 359 +/- 126 (95% CL, 328 to 390) and EVLWI from 9.7 +/- 4.5 mL/kg (95% CL, 8.6 to 10.9 mL/kg) to 10.8 +/- 5.2 mL/kg (95% CL, 9.4 to 12.2 mL/kg; p = 0.009). PVR remained unchanged (p = 0.28). At end management, 48 of 120 trial lungs (40%) were transplanted versus 66 of 244 nontrial lungs (27%; p = 0.016). Neither methylprednisolone and triiodothyronine nor T3 increased lung yield or affected PaO2/FIO2 or EVLWI; however, methylprednisolone attenuated the increase in EVLWI (p = 0.009).
Conclusions: Early active management of lung donors increases yield. Steroid administration reduces progressive lung water accumulation.