Lung transplantation (LTx) is the gold standard treatment for end-stage lung disease; however, waitlist mortality remains high due to a shortage of suitable donor lungs. Organ quality can be compromised by lung ischemic reperfusion injury (LIRI). LIRI causes pulmonary endothelial inflammation and may lead to primary graft dysfunction (PGD). PGD is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality post-LTx. Research into preservation strategies that decrease the risk of LIRI and PGD is needed, and ex-situ lung perfusion (ESLP) is the foremost technological advancement in this field. This review addresses three major topics in the field of LTx: first, we review the clinical manifestation of LIRI post-LTx; second, we discuss the pathophysiology of LIRI that leads to pulmonary endothelial inflammation and PGD; and third, we present the role of ESLP as a therapeutic vehicle to mitigate this physiologic insult, increase the rates of donor organ utilization, and improve patient outcomes.
Keywords: ex-situ lung perfusion; ischemic reperfusion injury; lung transplantation; primary graft dysfunction; pulmonary inflammation.