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Volume 557 Issue 7703, 3 May 2018

Lifeline for livers

A key limiting factor for successful liver transplants is the availability and quality of donor organs. In this issue, David Nasralla, Constantin Coussios, Peter Friend and colleagues report the outcomes from a trial investigating a new method of liver preservation prior to transplantation. Normally, a donor liver is preserved in ice, but this can cause damage to the organ. The researchers tackled this problem by deploying a technique called normothermic machine perfusion (NMP). This maintains the donor organs at body temperature and takes deoxygenated blood from the liver into a machine where it is oxygenated and bolstered with crucial nutrients before being pumped back into the liver. The technique allowed more donor livers to be transplanted having been preserved up to 54% longer and, despite this, reduced graft injury by 50% compared with organs preserved on ice. The team hopes that NMP could increase the number of viable organs available for transplant operations.

Cover image: AXS Studio, Inc.

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