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J Pediatr Surg. 1992 Oct;27(10):1285-90.

Adult-to-neonate lung transplantation: anatomic considerations.

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Department of Surgery, University of California, San Francisco.


Babies born with severe pulmonary hypoplasia are unsalvageable despite maximal therapy including extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). Using ECMO as a bridge to transplantation, reduced-size lung grafts (pulmonary lobe or segment) could expand the pool of cadaver donors and may allow for HLA-matched living-related transplants. We tested this concept first in the piglet model and developed the technical maneuvers necessary to perform lobar and segmental lung transplants from adult pigs into neonatal piglets. Prior to clinical application, a systematic evaluation of anatomic considerations for reduced-size human lung transplantation was needed. A series of human adult and neonatal cadaver thoracic dissections were performed to determine the adult pulmonary lobe or segment with the proper size, orientation, and vascular and bronchial anatomy for use as a neonatal lung transplant. The adult right middle lobe (RML) is the best candidate for neonatal left lung replacement. The adult RML, once removed, can be rotated 180 degrees around its superior-inferior axis and the vessels and bronchus align well in the left chest of the neonate. The RML may require further reduction to fit into the neonatal left chest. Selective arterial perfusion of the RML showed the anterior segment to be a near-perfect match for fit and anatomy. This technique may eventually permit living-related lung transplantation.

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