A technology that enables high-risk donor lungs to continue breathing outside the body for nearly 24 hours so the organs can be repaired before transplant, has led to a 25 per cent increase in transplantations this year at Toronto’s lung transplant clinic.
It is “an unprecedented increase in the number of transplants ever in the history of transplantation,” says Dr. Shaf Keshavjee, the surgeon-in-chief at University Health Network and director of the Toronto Lung Transplant Program.
That’s why his pick for breakthrough of the year is the Toronto Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion. (Ex vivo is Latin for “outside the living.”) Although developed a few years ago, the technique became standard therapy in 2013, a record year for lung transplants. Last year, 104 transplants were done. This year, 130 had been done by mid-December.
Developed by Keshavjee and his research team, this technology takes lungs that weren’t suitable for transplant and maintains them warm and breathing for nearly 24 hours, allowing scientists to assess and repair them for successful transplantation. Before the advent of this technology, the lung needed to be transplanted within six to eight hours of being harvested.
World renowned lung transplant innovator Dr. Shaf Keshavjee honoured by University of Toronto’s Boundless Campaign
Order of Ontario: Dr. Shaf Keshavjee
Dr. Shaf Keshavjee named to Ontario’s highest honour
Dr. Shaf Keshavjee appointed UHN’s Surgeon-in-Chief