Saturday 20 October 2018

Machine to keep liver alive outside body will 'transform' transplants

Medics with a normothermic machine perfusion device which keeps a liver “alive” for up to 24 hours before a transplant. Scientists have said that it could have a “transformative effect” on organ waiting lists
Medics with a normothermic machine perfusion device which keeps a liver “alive” for up to 24 hours before a transplant. Scientists have said that it could have a “transformative effect” on organ waiting lists

Sally Wardle

A machine that keeps a liver "alive" outside the body for up to 24 hours before a transplant could have a "transformative effect" on organ waiting lists.

The normothermic machine maintains the liver at body temperature, supplying it with oxygenated blood, medication and nutrients - similar to a patient on life support.

It increased the number of livers suitable for transplant, preserved them for longer and reduced the amount of injury to the organ, according to researchers.

Livers are conventionally kept cold in an ice box as they are transported to the patient for transplant, which can cause damage.

A study of 220 patients found 20pc more livers were successfully transplanted.

The machine will also test to see how well a liver will function after transplant.

Chief researcher David Nasralla, from the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences at the University of Oxford, said: "If these findings can be translated into clinical practice it could have a transformative effect on transplant waiting list mortality around the world."

Irish Independent

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