Background: Traditionally organ availability in human lung transplantation has been limited by aiming to keep the graft ischemic time under 6 hours. To maximize organ supply in a country with a widely spread population, we have routinely procured organs beyond this time. Our experience outlines the clinical consequences of a prolonged allograft ischemic time.
Methods: Between 1990 and 1994 we performed 106 lung or heart-lung transplantations. The average graft ischemic time was 323 +/- 93 minutes. Lung preservation included a prostacyclin infusion (40 to 80 ng/kg/min for 10 minutes) and cold modified Euro-Collins solution flush. Organs were stored and transported on ice at 6 degrees to 10 degrees C. Graft ischemic time, transplant type, age, gender, cytomegalovirus status, and anesthetic time were subject to multivariate Cox regression analysis.
Results: Survival and graft ischemic times for heart-lung (n = 38), single lung (n = 33), and bilateral lung transplantation (n = 35) were not significantly different. Graft ischemic time was an independent predictor of survival (p < 0.01). Subgroup analysis notes the effect to be most pronounced beyond 5 hours (p = 0.02, hazard ratio 3.44, confidence interval 1.12 to 9.8).
Conclusions: Pulmonary allograft ischemic time beyond 5 hours does not result in acceptable outcomes although survival is reduced. Attempts should be made to minimize graft ischemic times with careful coordination of transport and personnel.