Primary graft dysfunction (PGD) is a devastating form of acute lung injury that afflicts about 10-25 per cent of patients in the first hours to days after lung transplantation. It is the leading cause of death after transplant.
Although donor lungs are tested and examined before transplant, some signs of injury may not be able to be detected by standard tests.
University of Toronto and Toronto General Research Institute researchers have developed a microelectronic chip sensor which identifies, in minutes, whether a donor lung is at risk for PGD.
Researchers Drs. Shaf Keshavjee and Shana Kelley expect that this technology will be able to alert surgeons to damaged lungs which are not suitable for transplant, and may also reduce the numbers of lungs which are discarded but may have a good molecular profile.
“Currently, only about 15 per cent of all donated lungs are transplanted, leading to a shortage of lungs,” says Dr. Keshavjee, Director of the Toronto Lung Transplant Program and UHN Surgeon-in-Chief.