Baylor St. Luke’s Continues to Pave the Path for Breathing Lung Transplants

Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center is the first in Texas to use the Organ Care System (OCS) lung technology to perform a breathing lung transplant after the device recently received FDA approval for standard use. The technology is designed to keep donor lungs functioning and “breathing” in human-like conditions from the time of the donor procedure to the recipient’s transplant surgery, with warm blood perfusion, ventilation and a sophisticated monitoring system to continually assess the organ while in transport.

Baylor St. Luke’s was a study site during the device’s clinical trials and Dr. Gabriel Loor, surgical director of the lung transplant program at Baylor St. Luke’s, was the International Principal Investigator for the largest study in the U.S. evaluating the ability to increase the number of useable donor lungs using OCS technology. During the clinical trials last year, Baylor St. Luke’s became the first hospital in Texas to perform a breathing lung transplant using the OCS.

Earlier this year, Jackie Cundiff came to Dr. Loor and Baylor St. Luke’s as her quality of life was worsening. She suffered from a relatively rare genetic condition called Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, which is a genetic mutation that leads to breakdown of the protein support structure that provides integrity in the lungs. This condition eventually develops into COPD, which is the third leading cause of death in the world.

As Jackie’s disease progressed, she was limited in the amount of activity she could do and was required to be on oxygen. This led to her inclusion on the transplant list and eventually receiving the first breathing lung transplant in Texas since FDA approval. Her procedure only took four hours and she was discharged after six days.

“Six days is among the shortest hospital stays I’ve seen after this procedure,” said Dr. Loor. “This gave us a glimpse into the future of what transplant options and outcomes may be. The use of the OCS lung device for standard donors results in better initial lung function. This may translate into better short and long term outcomes, decreased resource utilization and faster recovery.”

The lung transplant program at Baylor St. Luke’s in Houston’s renowned Texas Medical Center continually strives to meet the needs of patients through innovative breakthrough research and cutting-edge technology, and is committed to compassionate quality health care that improves and saves lives.