Sepsis is the leading cause of lung injury in adults and can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Using a novel technique of isolated in vivo lung perfusion (IVLP), we hypothesized that normothermic IVLP will improve oxygenation and compliance in a porcine model of sepsis-induced lung injury.


Mature adult swine (n = 8) were administered lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 50 μg/kg over 2 hours) via the external jugular vein, followed by sternotomy and central extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) cannulation (right atrium to ascending aorta). The left pulmonary artery (inflow) and left superior and inferior pulmonary veins (outflow) were dissected out and cannulated to deliver isolated perfusion to the left lung. After 4 hours of normothermic IVLP with Steen solution, the left lung then underwent 4 hours of reperfusion after IVLP decannulation. Airway pressures and lung-specific pulmonary vein blood gases from the right lung (LPS control) and left lung (LPS + IVLP) of the same animal were compared.


All animals demonstrated a significant reduction in the ratio of partial pressure of oxygen in arterial blood (PaO2)/fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2) (P/F ratio) and total lung compliance at 2 hours after the start of LPS infusion (mean, 469 ± 19.7 mm Hg vs 222.2 ± 21.4 mm Hg; P < .0001). After reperfusion, 6 animals (75%) exhibited improved lung function, allowing for ECMO decannulation. Lung-specific oxygenation was superior in the left lung after 4 hours of reperfusion (mean, 310.5 ± 54.7 mm Hg vs 201.1 ± 21.7 mm Hg; P = .01). Similarly, total lung compliance improved after IVLP of the left lung. The lung wet weight to dry weight ratio demonstrated reduced edema in rehabilitated left lungs (mean, 6.5 ± 0.3 vs 7.5 ± 0.4; P = .04).


IVLP successfully rehabilitated LPS-injured lungs compared to ECMO support alone in this preclinical porcine model.

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