Organ Preservation using Ultrabaric Oxygen

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ONE of the problems in grafting borrowed organs between human subjects is to obtain an adequate supply of donor material. In some cases a transplant is made on the first sign of clinical death in the donor, a technique which requires considerable organization and great care with timing. A second approach is to obtain the donor organ from the victims of violence, such as motor-car accidents. The latter are probably the most frequent potential sources of donor material but suffer the great disadvantage that the scene of the accident may be remote from the centre at which the transplant is to be made, and the problem of maintaining life in the donor organ is an acute one. One method of maintaining vitality hap been to connect the suitably treated organ to a perfusion apparatus in which it is supplied with oxygenated blood until needed for use. The perfusion and associated cooling apparatus is complicated, expensive and unlikely to be available on any large scale, and for this reason one of us (A. D. B.) suggested that, in view of successful experiments in other fields of surgery with hyperbaric oxygen at a few atm. pressure, it might be worth trying the experiment of seeing whether greater tissue permeation and maintenance of vitality could be produced by the use of ‘ultrabaric’ oxygen—that is, oxygen at a pressure of some thousands of pounds per in.2. The experiment has now been carried out.

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BOOTH, A., WILLIAMS, K., CREE, I. et al. Organ Preservation using Ultrabaric Oxygen. Nature 210, 202–203 (1966) doi:10.1038/210202a0

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