Northwestern Medicine lung transplant technology dubbed 'Lungs in a Box' expanding donor pool

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Warning: Graphic medical imagery

A groundbreaking procedure is giving new hope to lung transplant patients.

There is a shortage of lung donations because of the pandemic.

A new device is helping doctors fix that.

Nicknamed "Lungs in a Box," the device helps doctors to remove, store and treat viable lungs for transplant.

It's now being used at Northwestern Medicine to help expand their donor pool.

RELATED: Chicago lung cancer patient undergoes successful double lung transplant at Northwestern Medicine

Mike Piwowar was the first patient to receive lungs using the device.

He said the procedure couldn't have come at a better time.

"It finally got to the point, there was more things going wrong than right," Piwowar said. "If I did any kind of exertion, I was out of breath. I couldn't breathe."

Out of all organs, lungs have the lowest utilization.

Only one in five donated lungs get transplanted.

"He was struggling to walk, and now he's not struggling as much, and he's doing great in therapy," Mike's wife Debbie Piwowar said.
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