Closure of Toronto Lung Transplant Program for 14 Days

  • 1.  Closure of Toronto Lung Transplant Program for 14 Days

    Posted 03-16-2020 22:28

    Dear Colleagues:

    As the COVID-19 Pandemic evolves, we have been continuing to perform lung transplantation until now.

    However, as we observe the increasing number of cases in Canada, we have become increasingly concerned about:

    1. the risk to our patients
    2. contributing to the spread of the virus with our donor team travel, and the safety of our team
    3. the availability of team resources: namely the lung transplant team, the ICU team and the ECMO team
    4. availability of critical system resources such as ICU beds in donor and transplant hospitals

    In this period of uncertainty, with careful consideration of the risks and benefits, we have made the decision to PAUSE LUNG TRANSPLANT ACTIVITY FOR 14 DAYS starting today.

    We have notified each patient personally to reassure them that we will continue to look after them and monitor them on the list. We will also continue to list patients so we can continue to transplant when it is safe to proceed. We will reassess the situation weekly and will send updates as the situation evolves.

    We hope that sharing this difficult decision is helpful to others who are are grappling with the same question in the face of so much uncertainty.

    Best wishes

    Shaf Keshavjee and Lianne Singer



    Lianne Singer
    Toronto ON

  • 2.  RE: Closure of Toronto Lung Transplant Program for 14 Days

    Posted 03-17-2020 10:09
    Edited by Lianne Singer 03-17-2020 10:38
    Some background on our program's circumstances, shared by email with a colleague at another site.

    We are seeing cases go up like everywhere else, no positive donors and we are testing them all. 180 cases in our province, most in Toronto area. No cases in our own hospital yet that I know of.
    We are fortunate to have a small waiting list with relative low acuity patients due to recent transplant volumes. Nobody on vent or ECMO, nobody in ICU. On the other hand we have 9 or 10 post-transplant patients in our ICU. Two of them chronic vents. So this is a big consideration and as this balance changes we will need to reassess.
    We have the highest ECMO expertise and volumes in our province. Our surgical lung transplant team is also the ECMO team. Cases will concentrate here and we need to be prepared to accommodate them.
    Obviously every program has its own unique issues to consider - it's really tough. Good luck and good health to all.


    Lianne Singer
    Toronto ON