Bridges to lung transplantation

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Purpose of review

Bridging to lung transplantation remains a controversy. Individually, it may be a life-saving therapy to use ventilation and extracorporeal means for gas exchange to keep a patient alive until lung transplantation. Collectively, this may lead to a selection of patients with the worst outcome. New technologies have become available to minimize the adverse events of extracorporeal devices. This may have an impact on the indication and use of such devices and also on the outcome.

Recent findings

Literature of the last 3 years were reviewed for new aspects of extracorporeal gas exchange (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, ECMO) in order to define the status quo of these therapeutic tools in bridging to lung transplantation. It was found that new oxygenator technologies as well as pump designs miniaturized ECMO systems. In addition, a variety of possibilities for specific indications were described. Recently, many programs work on concepts to use ECMO no longer in addition to mechanical ventilation, but to avoid or wean from ventilation. This situation represents a paradigm shift in the bridging strategies for lung transplantation.


Bridging to lung transplantation changes to concepts avoiding the sequels mechanical ventilation and thereby offers improvement of lung recipients prior to the transplant procedure.

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