UC San Diego Health aims to expand lung donor pool with new transplant technique

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Surgeons at UC San Diego Health performed San Diego County's first transplant surgery with lungs donated after cardiac death in June.

Standard lung transplant practices entail using organs that are functional at the time of donation. Donation after cardiac death allows surgeons to use lungs from a patient whose heart has stopped either naturally or because life support was discontinued. 

To date, surgeons at the health system have completed two lung transplants using this technique. Both recipients are recovering well and have a good prognoses, according to Eugene Golts, MD, surgical director of UC San Diego Health's lung transplant program.

"Organ donation after cardiac death is one possible solution to the current organ shortage we face because it could expand the pool of potential donors," he said in a news release. 

UC San Diego Health is the only health system in San Diego County with a lung transplant program and performs about 40 lung transplants annually.

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