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Lung India. 2019 Sep-Oct;36(5):399-403. doi: 10.4103/lungindia.lungindia_299_18.

Underutilization of potential donors for lung transplantation at a tertiary care center in North India.

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Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India.



Lung transplantation is infrequently performed in India due to several constraints, and whether the poor lung transplantation rates in India are due to a lack of eligible lung donors is unclear. In this study, we explored the availability of donors for lung transplantation.

Materials and Methods:

This was a retrospective analysis of all brain-dead participants who underwent assessment of eligibility for lung donation between August 2015 and June 2018. All participants underwent a detailed clinical evaluation that included history, physical examination, arterial blood gas analysis, chest radiograph, and bronchoscopy. The final eligibility for lung donation was assessed using the existing "ideal" criteria and the less stringent "extended" criteria.


A total of 55 brain-dead participants (41 [74.5%] males) were assessed for eligibility for lung donation. The mean (standard deviation [SD]) age of the participants was 38.4 (17.2) years. The mean (SD) duration of prior invasive mechanical ventilation at the time of assessment was 4 (3.1) days, with a mean (SD) partial pressure of arterial oxygen: inspired oxygen fraction ratio (PaO2:FiO2) of 326.6 (153.5). The proportion of participants who were found suitable for lung donation was 16 (29.1%) and 35 (63.6%) on employing the ideal and the extended criteria, respectively. Inadequate oxygenation status, abnormal chest radiograph, and sepsis were the most common reasons for excluding participants using either criteria. Despite the availability of adequate lung donors, only one lung transplantation could be performed.


Even with the most stringent criteria for lung assessment, nearly one-third of the brain-dead participants had lungs suitable for lung transplantation. Lack of eligible lung donors is not a reason for the poor lung transplantation rates in India.


Brain death; end-stage lung disease; lung allocation; lung donation; lung transplantation

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