A drone transports lungs between hospitals in minutes: the future of transplants arrives

In a transplant, every minute is vital. In Spain we have seen how drones have ended up being used in the transport of human organs in various tests, and some Toronto hospitals have demonstrated the effectiveness of this method, according to the CBC. A drone has successfully achieved transport some lungs.

Everything has happened in Canada. A drone has managed to carry a lung transplant from the Toronto Western Hospital to the Toronto General Hospital in just 6 minutes for Alain Hodak, 63-year-old engineer and transplant recipient.

With this flight, Hodak becomes the first human being to receive lungs via delivery drone. This feat is characterized, among many things, for having been a complete success which took 18 months of complete planning.

Lung transplant in drone

Transport drone.

Unither Bioélectronique


This is a project that was being planned for months and that could be carried out on September 25 of this year. The flight lasted 6 minutes, and the drone was able to reach its destination, at Toronto General Hospital around 1:00 a.m. local time. Thus, the doctors were able to avoid the problem of having to transport the transplant around the city, which could have caused problems.

In fact, Toronto General Hospital was chosen by the company United Therapeutics, the matrix of Bioélectronique, because this was the first hospital to perform a lung transplant in 1983.

Doctor Shaf Keshavjee

Doctor Shaf Keshavjee

University Health Network


The package was received by the hospital’s chief surgeon and a professor at the University of Toronto. The company in charge of the flight planning, Unither Bioélectronique, they spent months practicing with packages for months, performing drop tests (to see if the package could survive) and they even designed the container in which the lungs would go.

In fact, this same container was able to withstand changes in altitude in flight as well as adapt to air pressure. It was prepared, both by its constitution and its weight, to withstand the flight that it was going to have to carry out, and they relied on that same container to perform these same tests. They also equipped the container with a parachute in an emergency.

A complete success

Hodak managed to survive the double lung transplant operation, despite the challenges of performing this test. As Dr. Keshavjee explains, flying a drone “in this city is challenging, due to the area being populated with a lot of radio interference and a lot of people around. If you can fly a drone in this city, you can fly it anywhere. site”.

The doctor does not stop there, and affirms that plans to make trips are already underway with drones bigger and with greater range, that they can travel greater distances and bypass the limitations related to distance regulations and so on.

According to the doctor himself: “We could send a drone to Calgary to collect a lung and send it back. If we have the networks to recover organs and preserve them properly, I see that the future will be transporting organs to an organ repair center first. so that those organs are optimized and prepared to send them back to the receiving hospital. “

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