Grant Application

Kyla Joubert, MD, Jonathan D’Cunha,MD, PhD, FACS, and J.W. Awori Hayanga,MD, MPH, FRCS, FACS, UPMC Presbyterian

Proposed Innovation

Organ transplantation is a highly specialized and evolving surgical specialty performed by a limited number of facilities. Heart and lung procurement is done by a small number of surgeons who use varying methods of organ removal, protection, and preservation — leading to variations in donor organ quality and possibly poor outcomes for recipients.

Through this project, the UPMC Presbyterian lung transplant program will pilot an educational program led by experienced transplant surgeons who teach heart and lung procurement using porcine heart-lung tissue blocks in an operating room setting. This novel surgical simulation curriculum will be the initial step in developing a nationwide credentialing process for those who procure organs for transplantation.

Improvements in Action

Practicing cardiothoracic surgeons and surgical trainees from throughout the United States will be invited to attend the heart and lung procurement workshop. During the full-day program, practicing lung transplant surgeons will use animal models in an operating room, or “wet lab,” setting to guide participants through the processes of donor selection, organ procurement, and organ preservation.

Results – In Progress

This unique approach will provide participants with critical training in using the most up to date and effective means of heart and lung procurement. It will improve the skills of those already performing heart and lung procurement and provide trainees with a foundation upon which to build during formal training.

If proven successful, the program can easily be replicated and expanded to include other organ transplant programs. It is anticipated that the program will lead to standardized surgical practices for organ procurement and serve as a framework for a nationwide system for certification in organ procurement.