Liver Transplantation Breakthrough: Surgery Delay Eliminated

A new method developed by the University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG) in the Netherlands has extended the preservation time of donor organs in liver transplants. Known as ‘hypothermic machine perfusion’ (DHOPE), this technique increases the window for transplants from the traditional six to 10 hours to up to 20 hours. This innovation allows surgeons to schedule operations for the next day, reducing the rush and stress associated with emergency procedures.

The extended storage time did not have any negative impact on the outcome of transplantation, with no complications occurring within 30 days post-surgery. Moreover, all patients were still alive with a functioning liver after one year. This new approach brings several benefits; patients can undergo liver transplants in a more planned and less stressful manner, while surgeons and support staff can perform the operation during regular working hours, reducing the workload at night and potentially enhancing the quality of care.

When a donor liver arrives at the hospital, it is placed in a machine that connects it to blood vessels. The machine then pumps a preservative fluid with oxygen through the liver, prolonging its preservation time. The successful development of this method by UMCG demonstrates the potential of new technologies to make substantial advancements in the medical field.

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