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Date: 09 May 2012

A simplified subnormothermic machine perfusion system restores ischemically damaged liver grafts in a rat model of orthotopic liver transplantation

Abstract

Background

Liver donor shortages stimulate the development of strategies that incorporate damaged organs into the donor pool. Herein we present a simplified machine perfusion system without the need for oxygen carriers or temperature control, which we validated in a model of orthotopic liver transplantation.

Methods

Rat livers were procured and subnormothermically perfused with supplemented Williams E medium for 3 hours, then transplanted into healthy recipients (Fresh-SNMP group). Outcome was compared with static cold stored organs (UW-Control group). In addition, a rat liver model of donation after cardiac death was adapted using a 60-minute warm ischemic period, after which the grafts were either transplanted directly (WI group) or subnormothermically perfused and transplanted (WI-SNMP group).

Results

One-month survival was 100% in the Fresh-SNMP and UW-Control groups, 83.3% in the WI-SNMP group and 0% in the WI group. Clinical parameters, postoperative blood work and histology did not differ significantly between survivors.

Conclusion

This work demonstrates for the first time in an orthotopic transplantation model that ischemically damaged livers can be regenerated effectively using practical subnormothermic machine perfusion without oxygen carriers.