The normal technique for preserving donated organs is changing. Normally, prior to transplantation into the recipient(s), donated organs are cleaned by flushing them with a cleaning fluid. The fluid is left in the donated organ which is then placed in cold storage until transplant. The problem with this method is that sometimes wastes can build up due to the stoppage of blood circulation. However, a new technique is changing the process for the better.
Donated organs remain viable for transplant for a relatively short time after donation, and the time varies depending on the organ. For instance, hearts must be transplanted within four hours after donation and livers within twelve. Kidney preservation times are longer. Recently, medical personnel have began using a technique called Hypothermic Machine Perfusion to preserve donated livers significantly longer than twelve hours. Basically, the technique works like a kidney dialysis machine. Special tubes are first connected to the donated liver's artery and vein. Then, a small cardiopulmonary bypass pump is connected to keep blood circulating. The technique simulates normal liver function which allows oxygen and nutrients to continue flowing.
Hypothermic Machine Perfusion will be a real plus for the transplant community. It will allow for donated organs to be preserved longer, be healthier at the time of transplant, and begin performing quicker in the recipient's body after transplant. In fact, tests have shown that the technique can safely increase the viability time of donated livers by at least 50% and maybe even double the time to 24 hours in the future !!!! This could allow for the donor pool to be expanded resulting in fewer lives being lost each day due to a shortage of donated organs.
Currently, the technique is primarily being used with donated livers. However, I think it's possible that in the future it could be expanded and used with other donated organs, too. What it boils down to is that increased organ preservation times equate to healthier donated organs and more lives saved. That is without question a good thing.
Isn't technology great !!!!!!!!
Source : article on WPTV.com titled Preserving Donor Livers, the New Technique