As a leader in lung transplantation, Dr. Gabriel Loor knows the urgency associated with lung donation. Nearly 2,000 patients are added to the waitlist every year and up to 30 percent of patients die waiting for a donor. That’s why his innovative work with ex vivo lung perfusion (also known as “breathing lung” transplantation) is so critical. And it’s why the leadership of Baylor St. Luke’s worked hard to bring him here from the University of Minnesota, where he was credited with the first breathing lung transplantation in the Midwest.
“I am extremely excited to join the heart and lung transplantation team at Baylor College of Medicine and Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center,” Loor said. “I’ve been very attracted to the developments in Houston, and I’ve been impressed by the way everybody approaches patient care, research, and everyday life. There is a high level of excellence, and the incredible collaboration between Baylor, Catholic Health Initiatives, and Texas Heart® Institute is sure to enhance advanced heart and lung care in the region and the world.”
Loor is the national principal investigator on several trials using ex vivo lung perfusion. The process involves placing donated lungs inside a specially designed organ care system that maintains the lungs at a normal body temperature and treats them with a solution that contains nutrients, proteins, and oxygen.
“In the past, all we’ve been able to do is cool the lungs down, put them on ice, and transport them, and we have a certain amount of time to do that. But with this device, we’ve been able to have them outside the body for up to 12 hours or longer,” Loor said. “That amount of time lets us understand how good the quality of the lung is, deal with logistics, and ensure we can get the transplant in and allows the team to operate when they are well rested. It also gives us time to consider other types of treatment we can use to improve the quality of the organ.”
Results from initial studies using the organ care system show a significant reduction in complications and overall better outcomes for lung transplant patients.
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