Human Lungs Kept Alive Outside of Body

By | December 27, 2008

lungskeptaliveClick here to watch the video of a dead person’s lungs being kept alive and reconditioned for transplant into a living person.

Toronto XVIVO Lung Perfusion System

The donor lungs are carefully transferred to a protective, transparent bubble-like chamber. A series of precise steps are followed when connecting the donor lungs to the circuit–composed of a pump, ventilator and filters–which flow oxygen, nutrients and a special solution. The temperature is incrementally increased until it reaches 37 degrees Celsius over about 30 minutes, and ventilation of the lungs is begun during that time. Lung function is evaluated regularly on key indicators, such as how easily the lungs can exchange oxygen, airway pressure and lung compliance. –

See: Physorg

Seeing someone’s lungs breathing outside of their now gone body, I can’t help but wonder just how far are we from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. We can transplant: “heart, kidney, liver, lungs, intestine, eyes, pancreas, bones, bone marrow, skin, connective tissue, middle ear, blood vessels” (link) … what is missing? An entire brain hasn’t been officially transplanted, but human brain cells have. Anus transplants are also possible and one was done by accident. What else? Scalp hair (yes). Middle ears (yes, but needs electronic device?)  Spleens (not yet).

Summary:  Advances continue, but we aren’t quite there yet. Give it 50 years.

2000: First Womb Transplant: Dr. Wafa Fageeh at King Fahad Hospital and Research Centre in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, transplants the uterus of a 46-year-old into a 26-year-old woman. The uterus produces two menstrual periods before it fails after three months and has to be removed.

2003: First Jawbone Transplant: Surgeons at Rome’s Istituto Regina Elena transplant a mandible from the body of a 39-year-old man into an 80-year-old man who has advanced cancer of the mouth.

2003: First Tongue Transplant: A team of Austrian doctors at Vienna’s General Hospital performs a 14-hour tongue transplant on a 42-year-old man suffering from a malignant tumor affecting his tongue and jaw.

2004: First Ankle Transplant: In August, a team of Italian surgeons led by Dr. Sandro Giannini, transplanted the ankle of a 17-year-old boy (who had died in a car accident) into Silvano Bordon, a 48-year-old rally driver, who had lost mobility of his foot in an accident in 1991.

2005: First Partial Face Transplant: On November 27, maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Bernard Devauchelle and a team of surgeons performed the world’s first partial face transplant at a hospital in Amiens, in northern France. They grafted a nose, lips, and chin onto a 38-year-old woman, Isabelle Dinoire, who had been disfigured by a dog bite received in May 2005.

2006: First Penis Transplant: Dr. Weilie Hu and surgeons at Guangzhou General Hospital in China performed a penis transplant on a 44-year-old man whose penis had been damaged in a traumatic accident. The donor was a 22-year-old man. Ten days after the surgery, the man had been able to urinate normally. However, the penis was removed two weeks later due to “a severe psychological problem of the recipient and his wife.” There had been no signs of rejection.

2008: First Double Arm Transplant: Between July 25 and 26, doctors at Germany’s Munich University Clinic spent 15 hours grafting a pair of arms onto Karl Merk, a 54-year-old farmer who had lost his arms just below the shoulder in the accident six years ago. By the time of a follow-up news item in October 2008, there had been no signs of rejection, and he could perform simple tasks, like opening doors and turning on light switches. – medhunters

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