Karen Redmond, consultant thoracic and lung transplant surgeon and her team at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin have broken new ground by carrying out a new type of lung transplant procedure called ex vivo lung perfusion transplantation (EVLP). This procedure makes donor lungs previously classed as unsuitable safe for transplant.

Up until now more than 80 percent of donated lungs could not be transplanted into recipients. This has meant substantial waiting lists for those needing a lung transplant.  Reasons for this include the damage to the lungs caused by a donor illness or the presence of the donors white blood cells in a transplanted lung which may increase the likelihood of the lung being rejected. During EVLP the lungs are maintained at normal body temperature and perfused with a bloodless fluid known as Steen solution, which contains high levels of albumin, dextran and an electrolyte composition. This process helps to reverse lung injury and remove excess lung water and donor white cells.

Ms Redmond and the Mater team are predicting that while the procedure is still in its infancy it is hoped that for every two organ donors currently deemed unsuitable for lung transplant, using EVLP can restore the lungs of one. This will significantly increase the size of the current donor pool.

Karen Redmond spoke at our patient conference last October and gave an excellent synopsis on lung transplant in Ireland and as well as discussing this new procedure.

For more about organ donation and transplant in Ireland click here.

 

 

 

The VHI Women's Mini Marathon is taking place this year on bank holiday Monday June 6th in Dublin and as ever we welcome ladies to take part to raise funds and awareness for the Alpha One Foundation.

The VHI Women's Mini Marathon is the largest one day charity event in Ireland with over 40,000 women participating every year. With 80% of participants collecting money for a charity of their choice approximately €10-14 million is raised each year.

In the past fundraising efforts have helped the Alpha One Foundation substantially, providing us with testing equipment, testing kits and an IT upgrade all of which helps us in the day to day running of the national screening programme for Alpha-1. We would love to have participants take part in aid of the Alpha One Foundation so if you or someone you know is interested in joining the Alpha-1 team on Monday June 6th (whether walking/jogging or running!) or for more information contact us at 01-8093871 or email us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. It always guarantees to be a great day out!

Official Registration for the Mini Marathon will close when the maximum number of entries is received so we would encourage you to register as soon as possible to avoid disappointment! Click here to register for the mini marathon online now.

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Last August Anne Gormley from Ramelton in Co. Donegal was interviewed on the popular Shaun Doherty Show on local station Highland Radio to talk about her diagnosis of COPD and Alpha-1.  Anne spoke powerfully and bravely about how difficult day to day tasks are when every breath is a struggle.  She also discussed how her late brother John was affected by Alpha-1 and how his poetry is being brought to a wider audience with the publication of a collection of his poems.  This collection is called “Window to my World” and was launched in Manorcunningham last August with over 400 people in attendance.  Professor Gerry McElvaney a specialist in Alpha-1 at Beaumont Hospital was also interviewed on the show.  He spoke about how Ireland has one of the highest rates of Alpha-1 in the world.  1 in 25 people in Ireland carry the faulty gene that causes Alpha-1.  This gene is faulty because it contains the Z mutation, and most people diagnosed with Alpha-1 carry either 1 or 2 copies of the Z mutation.  For years it was thought that only people who inherit 2 copies of the Z mutation were at risk of lung disease.  Research from the McElvaney team has shown that carriers of 1 copy of the Z mutation who smoke also have increased risk for lung disease, particularly COPD (read more on this study here).  Importantly, the earlier someone is diagnosed with Alpha-1 the better because there are positive steps people can take to prevent lung disease developing, for example quitting smoking.  Professor McElvaney highlighted the work of the national screening programme run by the Alpha One Foundation which offers a free test for Alpha-1.  

Thanks to Shaun Doherty, Ciara Johnston, and everyone at Highland Radio for shining a light on Alpha-1.  And a big thank you and well done to Anne and all the O'Donnell family.  The full interview can be listened to at the very bottom of the page. 

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If you would like more information on how to get tested for Alpha-1 or how to buy a copy of “Window to my World” email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 01-8093871.

 

 

 

What is Alpha-1 Antitrypsin?
Alpha-1 antitrypsin is a vital protein produced by the liver to protect the lungs. It provides protection from the harmful effects of infections and inhaled irritants, particularly tobacco smoke. It can be easily measured by a simple blood test. 
What is Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency?
Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (Alpha-1) is a genetic condition which, after cystic fibrosis, is the commonest genetic disorder in Ireland. It severely affects more than 15,000 people, with another 250,000 carriers also at risk of lung and liver disease on the island of Ireland. It is a proven genetic risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
How Do I Get Tested?
The Alpha One Foundation provides free testing for Alpha-1 as part of a national screening programme which is funded by the HSE. For more details ring 01-8093871 or email alpha1@rcsi.ie.