A Leukocyte Filter Does Not Provide Further Benefit During Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion

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Normothermic ex vivo lung perfusion (EVLP) allows for assessment and reconditioning of donor lungs. Although a leukocyte filter (LF) is routinely incorporated into the EVLP circuit; its efficacy remains to be determined. Twelve pig lungs were perfused and ventilated ex vivo in a normothermic state for 12 hours. Lungs (n = 3) were allocated to four groups according to perfusate composition and the presence or absence of a LF in the circuit (acellular ± LF, cellular ± LF). Acceptable physiologic lung parameters were achieved during EVLP; however, increased amounts of pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α and IL-6) and leukocytes in the perfusate were observed despite the presence or absence of a LF. Analysis of cells washed off the LF demonstrates that it trapped leukocytes although being ineffective throughout perfusion as it became saturated over 12 hours of EVLP. We conclude that there is no objective evidence to support the routine incorporation of a LF during EVLP as it does not provide further benefit and its removal does not appear to cause harm. The lack of hypothesized benefit to a LF may be because of the saturation of the LF with donor leukocytes, leading to similar amounts of circulating leukocytes still present in the perfusate with and without a LF.

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