The MIT Technology Review (and other sources) have reported on a new technique that Canadian doctors devised for preparing lungs for transplants – or repairing damaged lungs – by keeping them alive and breathing outside the body:
After the donor lungs are removed from a deceased donor and taken to the hospital, they are carefully transferred to a protective, transparent bubble-like chamber that the Toronto team developed in collaboration with Vitrolife, a company specializing in developing lung preservation solutions. To avoid injuring the lungs, a series of precise steps are followed when connecting them to a circuit composed of a pump, ventilator and filters through which flow oxygen, nutrients and a special solution. The temperature is incrementally increased until it reaches 37 degrees Celsius over about 30 minutes, and ventilation of the lungs is begun during that time. Lung function is evaluated regularly on key indicators, such as how easily the lungs can exchange oxygen, airway pressure and lung compliance.
Yeah, and that last link – the one here – goes to a video of disembodied lungs breathing in their transparent dome.
The story broke last October, but you know, they’re still doing this thing and good lord look at them breathing in and out in that dish!