Perfusate adsorption during ex vivo lung perfusion improves early post-transplant lung function.

Ilker Iskender, MD, MSc, Stephan Arni, PhD, Tatsuo Maeyashiki, MD, Necati Citak, MD,  Mareike Sauer, DVM, Josep Monne Rodriguez, DVM,  Thomas Frauenfelder, MD,  Isabelle Opitz, MD,  Walter Weder, MD, and Ilhan Inci. MDa Thorac Cardiovasc Surg2020  

Objective: Improvement in ex vivo lung perfusion protocols could increase the number of donors available for transplantation and protect the lungs from primary graft dysfunction. We hypothesize that perfusate adsorption during ex vivo lung perfusion reconditions the allograft to ischemia–reperfusion injury after lung transplantation.  

Methods: Donor pig lungs were preserved for 24 hours at 4 C, followed by 6 hours of ex vivo lung perfusion according to the Toronto protocol. The perfusate was additionally adsorbed through a CytoSorb adsorber (CytoSorbents, Berlin, Ger-many) in the treatment group, whereas control lungs were perfused according to the standard protocol (n = 5, each). Ex vivo lung perfusion physiology and biochemistry were monitored. Upon completion of ex vivo lung perfusion, a left single lung transplantation was performed. Oxygenation function and lung mechanics were assessed during a 4-hour reperfusion period. The inflammatory response was determined during ex vivo lung perfusion and reperfusion.

Results: The cytokine concentrations in the perfusate were markedly lower with the adsorber, resulting in improved ex vivo lung perfusion physiology and biochemistry during the 6-hour perfusion period. Post-transplant dynamic lung compliance was markedly better during the 4-hour reperfusion period in the treatment group. Isolated allograft oxygenation function and dynamic compliance continued to be superior in the adsorber group at the end of reperfusion, accompanied by a markedly decreased local inflammatory response.  

Conclusions: Implementation of an additional cytokine adsorber has refined the standard ex vivo lung perfusion protocol. Furthermore, cytokine removal during ex vivo lung perfusion improved immediate post-transplant graft function together with a less intense inflammatory response to reperfusion in pigs. Further studies are warranted to understand the beneficial effects of perfusate adsorption during ex vivo lung perfusion in the clinical setting.