How are donor lungs harvested for transplantation?

Updated: Aug 19, 2019
  • Author: Bryan A Whitson, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Mary C Mancini, MD, PhD, MMM  more...
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Donor harvesting procedure requires careful surgical technique to preserve an adequate donor left atrial cuff around the confluence of the superior and inferior pulmonary veins. The surgeon divides the donor left atrium halfway between the left venous confluence and the coronary sinus. In some situations, especially when the heart and lungs are harvested separately, the donor lungs are left with little or no atrial tissue around the venous confluence. Construction of a neoatrial cuff from the divided edges of each of the 2 pulmonary veins ensures utilization of graft for transplantation. The newly formed cuff then is used for atrial anastomosis. This technique can be applied to the left or right lung and also can be applied to create an additional length of pulmonary artery. These simple but effective surgical techniques expand the donor availability for lung transplantation.

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