News / Health

US Researchers Hope to Increase Availability of Donor Lungs

US Researchers Hope to Increase Availability of Donor Lungsi
X
November 27, 2013 5:21 AM
U.S. scientists are conducting a study that they hope will increase the number of donor lungs available to patients needing transplants. Their effort is aimed at finding the best way to preserve the lungs from a deceased person until they can be transplanted into a patient who needs them. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
US Researchers Hope to Increase Availability of Donor Lungs
Zlatica Hoke
U.S. scientists are conducting a study that they hope will increase the number of donor lungs available to patients needing transplants. Their effort is aimed at finding the best way to preserve the lungs from a deceased person until they can be transplanted into a patient who needs them.
 
Lungs remain viable longer than other organs because of the air left inside them after a person's death. Dr. Thomas Egan, the leader of the project, said researchers hope to find a way to delay the onset of decay even more.
 
"This would have a profound impact on the number of lungs that are available for transplant. Right now in the United States, we do 1,800 lung transplants a year.  We think that we could be doing upwards of 40- to 50,000 lung transplants a year," said Egan.
 
For thousands of people across the country, a lung transplant is their only hope to one day breathe normally. But harvesting the organs from donors who die suddenly, and not in a hospital, is often complicated. Because of this, up to 80 percent of donated lungs aren't usable. 
 
While most lungs for transplants come from donors who died in a hospital, they are frequently damaged by ventilators and other complications during long hospital stays. Egan wants to reach sudden death victims in their homes, or elsewhere in the community, and have medical workers pump a little air into their lungs to preserve them while the body is transported to an operating room for organ recovery.
 
Egan's team’s methods include a procedure called ex vivo lung perfusion, which uses a machine to infuse air and fluids through the lungs to prolong their life. The process also allows the lungs to be inspected for disease and other potential problems.
 
"By doing this repeatedly, we're likely to get more efficient, which will potentially improve opportunities to not only transplant lungs but have lungs function better after recovery following sudden death," said Egan.
 
Lungs that pass health checks will be transplanted into patients taking part in a National Institutes of Health-funded study. 
 
One such patient, Lisa Bowman, has been on the waiting list for new lungs for two years after a rare genetic disease gradually damaged her own. She is hoping the study will help her find a matching lung donor sooner.  
 
"I cannot think of… anything that would be more exciting. I think that would be the greatest thing to have - to be able to breathe normal," said Bowman.
 
Transplant specialists around the world will be watching the program with keen interest.

You May Like

Bleak China Economic Outlook Rattles Markets

Several key European stock indexes were down nearly three percent, while US market indexes were off around two percent in early trading More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs