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Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2014 Mar;45(3):e54-60. doi: 10.1093/ejcts/ezt598. Epub 2014 Jan 14.

Successful prolonged ex vivo lung perfusion for graft preservation in rats.

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Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.



Ex vivo lung perfusion (EVLP) strategies represent a new frontier in lung transplantation technology, and there have been many clinical studies of EVLP in lung transplantation. The establishment of a reliable EVLP model in small animals is crucial to facilitating translational research using an EVLP strategy. The main objective of this study was to develop a reproducible rat EVLP (R-EVLP) model that enables prolonged evaluation of the explanted lung during EVLP and successful transplantation after EVLP.


The donor heart-lung blocks were procured with cold low-potassium dextran solution and immersed in the solution for 1 h at 4 °C. And then, the heart-lung blocks were flushed retrogradely and warmed up to 37 °C in a circuit perfused antegradely with acellular perfusate. The perfusate was deoxygenated with a gas mixture (6% O2, 8% CO2, 86% N2). The perfusion flow was maintained at 20% of the entire cardiac output. At 37 °C, the lungs were mechanically ventilated and perfusion continued for 4 h. Every hour, the perfused lung was evaluated for gas exchange, dynamic lung compliance (Cdyn) and pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR).


R-EVLP was performed for 4 h. Pulmonary oxygenation ability (pO2/pCO2) was stable for 4 h during EVLP. It was noted that Cdyn and PVR were also stable. After 4 h of EVLP, pO2 was 303 ± 19 mmHg, pCO2 was 39.6 ± 1.2 mmHg, PVR was 1.75 ± 0.10 mmHg/ml/min and Cdyn was 0.37 ± 0.03 ml/cmH2O. Lungs that were transplanted after 2 h of R-EVLP resulted in significantly better post-transplant oxygenation and compliance when compared with those after standard cold static preservation.


Our R-EVLP model maintained stable lung oxygenation, compliance and vascular resistance for up to 4 h of perfusion duration. This reliable model should facilitate further advancement of experimental work using EVLP.


Ex vivo lung perfusion; Lung transplantation; Organ preservation

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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