Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center is proud that a recognized leader in the development and use of the organ care system for lung perfusion transplantation will soon join our transplant team. Gabriel Loor, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon joins us March 1, 2017 as surgical director of the Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center Lung Transplantation program. Dr. Loor specializes in heart and lung transplantation, is skilled in use of the EVLP system and is the national principal investigator on several trials using ex vivo lung perfusion platforms to increase donor yield and quality.

Ex vivo lung perfusion (EVLP) is an innovative therapy applied to donor lungs outside of the body before transplantation that improves organ quality and makes lungs that were previously unsuitable, safe for transplant. EVLP allows transport of the organ without fear of the amount of time outside of the donor. It keeps the organ in its physiologic state, resembling the environment of the human body. Traditionally, lungs and hearts are chilled with a protective solution and packaged in a cooler for transportation. This decreases the organ’s need for oxygen. But over time the organ starves for blood and oxygen and the amount of time that it takes to transplant can negatively affect outcomes. 

Currently, EVLP is offered at a handful of centers in the world and in the United States it is only available through a clinical trial of the Organ Care System (OCS). The trial is expanding, and Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center will become one of the new sites in March. As part of its participation in the expanded trial, Baylor St. Luke’s will temporarily receive an Organ Care System, giving our medical team, led by Gabriel Loor, MD, the opportunity to develop an expertise in this new and innovative procedure. Dr. Loor is a national investigator for this new treatment and equipment, and his long-term vision is to turn Baylor St. Luke’s into the regional expert for EVLP. To do that, a core group of physicians must work closely together, training on the OCS. Once the clinical trial is completed, Baylor St. Luke’s is asking for philanthropic assistance to purchase its own OCS and to further support the training and education of physicians in EVLP.

How it works

The process involves a three-to-four-hour period during which the donated lungs are placed inside the Organ Care System –a sterile plastic dome attached to a ventilator, pump, and filters. The lungs are maintained at normal body temperature and treated with a bloodless solution that contains nutrients, proteins, and oxygen. This can reverse lung injury and remove excess lung water. During the process, lung function is evaluated continuously on several key indicators. Once determined to be suitable, the lungs are transplanted into a waiting patient. Results from the initial study indicate that EVLP outcomes are significant. Lungs “wake up” faster and work better when the OCS is used.

 

Gabriel Loor, MD  

Dr. Loor joins us from the University of Minnesota Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery where he is credited with the first “breathing lung transplantation” in the Midwest, performed in 2014. 

Dr. Loor received his cardiac surgical and transplant training at the Cleveland Clinic. He spent several years at the University of Minnesota as assistant professor in cardiac surgery and director of the lung transplant program. There he significantly increased the volume and quality of lung transplantation through donor utilization, reduction of patient wait list times and adoption of various innovations. In addition, he was responsible for several quality improvement initiatives including building the aortic and adult congenital surgery practice. 

His research interests include improved donor utilization and maximizing recipient outcomes. His translational lab focuses on the use of this technology to improve the quality and quantity of potential lung transplants. Dr. Loor has published several key papers on prolonged preservation of donor organs with an emphasis on reducing ischemic injury and the inflammatory response. He has also published several articles on blood conservation, safety checklists and surgical outcomes after adult cardiac surgery.