Normothermic machine perfusion of donor-lungs ex-vivo: promoting clinical adoption

Curr Opin Organ Transplant. 2020 Jun;25(3):285-292. doi: 10.1097/MOT.0000000000000765.


Purpose of review: Lung transplantation offers the only realistic therapeutic option for patients with end-stage lung disease. However, this is impacted by a shortfall in availability of suitable donor-lungs. Normothermic machine perfusion of donor-lungs outside the donor body also known as ex-vivo lung perfusion (EVLP) offers a potential solution through objective assessment, reconditioning and treatment of donor-lungs initially deemed unsuitable for use. This review discusses key advances and challenges in the wider clinical adoption of this technology.

Recent findings: This review will summarize key research within the following areas: recent clinical trials utilizing EVLP, logistical challenges, EVLP protocol innovations, novel assessment methods and current research into therapeutic modulation of lung function during EVLP.

Summary: Normothermic machine perfusion of donor-lungs ex-vivo offers a promising platform to assess and modulate donor-lung quality prior to transplantation. Consensus on how and when to best utilize EVLP is yet to be reached, meaning that widespread clinical adoption of the technology has not yet become a reality. Further work is needed on agreed indications, perfusion protocols and organization of services before becoming a regularly used procedure prior to lung transplantation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Extracorporeal Circulation / methods*
  • Humans
  • Lung Transplantation / methods*
  • Perfusion / methods*
  • Tissue Donors / statistics & numerical data*