Lung transplantation: donor and recipient critical care aspects

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Purpose of review

The purpose of this paper is to highlight new developments in donor and recipient lung transplant issues for the critical care physician.

Recent findings

A shortage of suitable lung donors has led to the use of extended donors and the development of novel techniques such as live-donor lung transplantation and the use of non-heart-beating donors. The increased experience and success with lung transplantation has also resulted in the extension of this therapy to patients previously considered unsuitable for transplantation. Postoperative outcomes can be affected by many of these recent donor and recipient changes. Improved preservation solutions and techniques to reduce reperfusion injury may be able to ameliorate some of the new perioperative graft dysfunction, but morbidity is still potentially significant, and extraordinary interventions such as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation may be required in selected cases.


Patients undergoing lung transplantation continue to be very challenging in the intensive care unit. A multidisciplinary approach to care, and early recognition of serious problems, will help improve outcomes.

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