Transplants of warm and functioning organs

Publié le : 28 March 2013

 On Friday 15 March, a team of British surgeons from King’s College Hospital in London announced that they "had carried out liver transplants using a revolutionary technique […] consisting of keeping the organs warm and functioning when out of the body." Today, "the organs intended for transplants are kept on ice awaiting the operation, in order to slow down their metabolism." However, with this technique, "their preservation must not exceed ten hours" and "often has the consequence of damaging the livers and making them unusable." With the new technique, the liver is kept "’warm’ by injecting it with red blood cells" and "it takes less than a minute for the system to ‘revive’ a liver." To carry out their tests, "the researchers […] preserved the livers of donors for 10 hours". But the experts "are convinced that they can preserve organs out of the human body for 24 or even 72 hours." The team of researchers says that this technique, already used with two patients in February, "could significantly increase the number of livers that can be transplanted." Wayel Jassem, a surgeon of King’s College Hospital in London who carried out the two transplants, says that "this technology gives doctors more time to check the state of the liver and thus maximises the chances of a successful transplant."            

Lastly, the article points out that "the machine could also be adapted to other organs and make it possible to better preserve the pancreas, kidneys, small intestines and lungs.

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