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Lower respiratory testing requirement for all lung donors to be considered

Lower respiratory testing requirement for all lung donors to be considered

COVID-19 Emergency Policy: Executive Committee to consider requiring lower respiratory testing for all lung donors

At its April 26 virtual meeting, the OPTN Executive Committee will consider an emergency policy to require lower respiratory COVID-19 testing for all potential lung donors. Test results would need to be available prior to organ recovery. We are providing this advance notice to help members be aware of the discussion and prepare for potential policy adoption. If approved, the proposal would go into effect 30 days from approval and be submitted for retrospective public comment for the summer’s cycle.

The Executive Committee is considering this change based on an OPTN Ad Hoc Disease Transmission Advisory Committee (DTAC) recommendation. Multiple cases reported to DTAC in recent months demonstrate the potential for donor-derived COVID-19 transmission to lung recipients when lower respiratory samples are not tested and results confirmed prior to transplant. The DTAC developed this proposal in consultation with the OPTN OPO and Lung Transplantation Committees, as well as OPO representatives on various other OPTN committees.

The Executive Committee will consider this proposal as an emergency action because of its significant patient safety implications, including the risk of patient mortality.

Many OPOs are already arranging tests of lower respiratory samples for COVID-19 donors. For those continuing to expand their capabilities, this resource document lists tests authorized by the Food and Drug Administration to analyze lower respiratory tract specimens.

For additional information, please read the Summary of Current Evidence on SARS-CoV-2 prepared by DTAC in collaboration with representatives from AST, ASTS, AOPO, HRSA and the CDC.


Updated daily: The latest data on organ donation and transplant in the U.S. High-level data on transplants, deceased donors recovered, patients added to the waitlist and patients temporarily moved to inactive waitlist status.


For COVID-19 related policy and operational questions, email [email protected]

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