This article discusses the Pittsburgh experience with the pulmonary donor and provides guidelines for the maintenance and selection of appropriate donor lungs. Criteria for the selection of the pulmonary donor include absence of radiographic abnormality, minimal ventilation-perfusion mismatch, and an absence of identifiable infection. Because early thoracic infections result in a high mortality, donors are excluded if white cells, fungi, or bacteria are noted in samples obtained from tracheal aspirates or bronchoscopic examination. A number of techniques for the procurement of donor lungs are currently satisfactory and include core cooling with the use of cardiopulmonary bypass and different hypothermic pulmonary artery flush solutions. Other clinical preservation techniques are discussed, including autoperfusion and the use of blood-based pulmoplegia and University of Wisconsin storage solution. Because so much of the outcome following pulmonary allografting is based on the quality of the donor lungs, much of the future direction in pulmonary transplantation must be directed toward a continuing investigation of better methods for selection and maintenance of the donor and ex vivo preservation.