Researchers in the US have made a significant breakthrough that could see tens of thousands more lungs available for transplant each year.
Doctors from the University of North Carolina have found that lungs can survive for up to four hours after a person dies if they have air pumped into them, the Daily Mail reports.
The three-year study found that lungs were still “breathing” hours after a donor died if small amounts of air were provided to keep them alive.
While other organs depend on blood flow to provide them with oxygen, lungs use the air left in them to survive.
The breakthrough means thousands more patients waiting for a life-saving lung transplant could have access to organs that weren’t previously available.
Currently only 15-20 percent of donated lungs are available for transplant.