Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion (EVLP) | Loyola Medicine

Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion (EVLP)

Clinical Trial to Increase Suitability of Donor Lungs for Transplantation

Loyola Medicine was one of six sites in the United States that participated in a clinical trial for ex vivo lung perfusion (EVLP). This technology improves the function of the donor lung and allows for a more accurate assessment of organ suitability. Through participation in this clinical trial, Loyola made lung transplantation available to more patients than was previously possible.

EVLP is a modern preservation technique that allows for the use of donor lungs that might have previously been unsuitable for transplantation. The ex vivo lung perfusion machine uses an ICU ventilator to inflate and deflate the donor lungs, and a machine to circulate blood substitute through the lungs. Loyola’s lung transplant surgeons evaluate the suitability of the donor lung with the intended recipient in mind. After undergoing EVLP, the donor organ may or may not be determined to be suitable for transplant.

Lung transplant surgery is the only life-saving treatment option for many patients with end-stage lung disease. Suitability of the donor organ is of the utmost importance for the success of the surgery and the patient’s future health. Through ex vivo lung perfusion, Loyola’s transplant surgeons are bringing life-saving treatment to more patients who need lung transplants.


What to Expect with Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion

Ex vivo lung perfusion (EVLP) is an innovative technique only available through clinical trials, which Loyola Medicine recently participated in. When donor lungs become available but may not be immediately suitable, Loyola’s lung transplant surgeons can make the decision to send the donor lungs to a facility in Silver Spring, MD where EVLP takes place. 

For four to six hours, the donor lung is maintained at normal body temperature and treated with nutrients, proteins and oxygen, reversing lung injury and removing excess water. While on the ex vivo machine, the lung can be assessed through X-rays, CT scan, bronchoscopy, as well as the measurement of blood-oxygen level. The function of the lungs can be measured to understand how well they perform. If your Loyola surgeon determines that the organ is suitable for transplant, the lung is transported back to Loyola for its recipient. The goal of this EVLP trial was to increase the number of patients who can receive life-saving lung transplant surgery.

What are the Risks of Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion?

Loyola’s lung transplant surgeons are participating in leading-edge research and clinical trials to increase the accessibility of donor lungs to patients who are waiting for a transplant. Additionally, their goal is to make transplantation safer and more successful. Through ex vivo lung perfusion, Loyola’s surgeons are bringing life-saving treatment options to more patients. 

With any surgery, there are risks. In the case of lung transplantation after ex vivo lung perfusion, risks may include:

  • Early death
  • Infection
  • Primary graft dysfunction
  • Reduced or compromised lung function