Dr. Bremner explains how the the medical team prepares the patient and the new lungs for transplantion.
An organ will be, your nurse will notify us if there is an organ available for one of the patients that we have on the waiting list, and we will then notify that patient, usually by telephone or a pager, and ask them to come into the hospital and tell them that there’s a possibility of an organ being available. It is a very exciting time for everybody.
The procurement team will then go out and procure the organ, but they first will go and look at the organ and by the bronchoscopy and look at the x-rays at the donor’s site, and then they will actually visualize the organs themselves before they actually say, “The organs are good, it’s a go.” And then the operation will start on the recipient’s side, so the patient who is getting the transplanted organs, and that operation will then begin and the donor organs will arrive back at the operating room once we have removed the old lungs which are not functioning anymore. Then we start the implantation process where we sew the new lungs into the recipient.
At the end of the operation, usually the patient will stay intubated. We send the patient to the ICU and keep them asleep for, you know, at least 12 hours while we get to understand how well the lungs are functioning in their new environment.
Usually the patients will then get extubated within one to three or four days, and the average time the patient spends in the hospital is somewhere between 14 and 18 days. It’s been as short as 7 days in our experience, and sometimes if patients have some complications the process can be longer.
Dr. Bremner, M.D., Ph.D.:
Ross M. Bremner, M.D., Ph.D., is surgical director of the Center for Thoracic Disease and chief of thoracic surgery at the Heart & Lung Institute, St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center. Dr. Bremner completed his medical school training in South Africa at the University of the Witwatersrand where he graduated magna cum laude and received the Harwood Nash Memorial medal for surgery. He then completed his general surgery training at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, during which time he also completed his Ph.D. Dr. Bremner then went on to complete his cardiothoracic training at USC after which he joined the faculty as assistant professor of cardiothoracic surgery and director of the Hastings Thoracic Oncology Laboratory.