Multiday maintenance of extracorporeal lungs using cross-circulation with conscious swine.

Hozain A E, Tipograf Y, Pinezich M R , Cunningham K M , Donocoff R, Queen D Fung K, Marboe C C, Guenthart B A O’Neill J D, Vunjak-Novakovic G , Bacchetta M. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2020;159:1640-53)

Lung remains the least-utilized solid organ for transplantation. Efforts to recover donor lungs with reversible injuries using ex vivo perfusion systems are limited to<24 hours of support. Here, we demonstrate the feasibility of extending normothermic extracorporeal lung support to 4 days using cross-circulation with conscious swine.

A swine behavioral training program and custom enclosure were developed to enable multiday cross-circulation between extracorporeal lungs and recipient swine. Lungs were ventilated and perfused in a normothermic chamber for4 days. Longitudinal analyses of extracorporeal lungs (ie, functional assessments, multiscale imaging, cytokine quantification, and cellular assays) and recipient swine (eg, vital signs and blood and tissue analyses) were performed.

Throughout 4 days of normothermic support, extracorporeal lung function was maintained (arterial oxygen tension/inspired oxygen fraction>400 mmHg; compliance>20 mL/cm H2O), and recipient swine were hemodynamically stable (lactate<3 mmol/L; pH, 7.420.05). Radiography revealed well-aerated lower lobes and consolidation in upper lobes of extracorporeal lungs, and bronchoscopy showed healthy airways without edema or secretions. In bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, interleukin (IL) 4, IL-6, and IL-10 levels increased less than 6-fold, whereas interferon gamma, IL-1a, IL-1b, IL-1ra, IL-2, IL-8, IL-12, IL-18, and tumor necrosis factor alpha levels decreased from baseline to day 4. Histologic evaluations confirmed an intact blood–gas barrier and outstanding preservation of airway and alveolar architecture. Cellular viability and metabolism in extracorporeal lungs were confirmed after 4 days.

We demonstrate feasibility of normothermic maintenance of extra-corporeal lungs for 4 days by cross-circulation with conscious swine. Cross-circulation approaches could support the recovery of damaged lungs and enable organ bioengineering to improve transplant outcomes.