Send to

Choose Destination
Best Pract Res Clin Anaesthesiol. 2017 Jun;31(2):141-152. doi: 10.1016/j.bpa.2017.08.001. Epub 2017 Aug 9.

Worldwide trends in heart and lung transplantation: Guarding the most precious gift ever.

Author information

Department of Anesthesiology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, Germany.
Department of Surgery, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Transplantation, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY, USA.
Section of Anaesthetics, Pain Medicine and Intensive Care, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, London, UK; Department of Anaesthesia, Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, Harefield Hospital, Harefield, Middlesex, UK; Centre of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary. Electronic address:


Transplantation is sadly a therapy to die for. The survival of a recipient with end-stage heart or lung disease requires the demise of a human being through brain death or cessation of circulation, with the noblest final act of offering one's organs to another. However, transplantation is constrained by severe hemodynamic, regulatory, inflammatory, and metabolic stresses in the donor, rendering the majority of offered organs unsuitable for transplantation. Coupled with our inability to acquire exact molecular and cellular information and missed opportunities for effectively modulating deteriorations of donors and allografts, anesthesia and critical care contributes to ongoing organ shortages. Progress is made with improving waiting lists by bridging patients for transplantation using mechanical support. However, this represents more complex recipients, higher risk transplant operations, and increased resource utilization. The advent of ex vivo perfusion allows implementing novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies with real potential of reconditioning less ideal organs. This review advocates a paradigm change in critical care management of the potential donor for improving retrieval practices and for more intellectual involvement of our specialties in organ preservation, ex vivo evaluation and reconditioning, and the need for great advancement in our efficiency in converting unacceptable allografts to suitable donor organs.


donors; ex vivo perfusion; heart and lung transplantation

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center