Investigational Device Prolongs Survival Of Livers for Transplantation

May Increase Availability of Donor Livers 

Patients who need a new liver to survive must hope that they are one of the approximately 13,000 liver transplant recipients in the United States and Europe each year. But with 30,000 people on waiting lists, and with only ice keeping livers for transplantation viable for up to 14 hours, the odds are not always in the patients’ favor. Each year, more than 2,000 livers don’t survive the journey to their new home.

 “Preserving organs by cooling them down is far from perfect,” said Peter J. Friend, MD, director of transplantation surgery, Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences, Oxford Transplant Centre, U.K. “Although cooling the organ on ice slows its metabolism by a factor of 10, the liver continues to metabolize slowly and deteriorates as a result. It’s hard to tell which organs will work and which ones won’t.”

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