Preservation of organs from brain dead donors with hyperbaric oxygen

Pediatr Transplant. 2008 Aug;12(5):506-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3046.2007.00858.x.


Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a technology that involves oxygen treatment at supra-atmospheric pressures in high concentrations, generating increased levels of physically dissolved oxygen in blood plasma. This form of transported oxygen, compared with oxygen chemically bound to hemoglobin, is able to enter tissues with minimal or almost no blood flow. Experimental studies have suggested that hyperoxemia provided by hyperbaric oxygen may be beneficial in the treatment of reperfusion injury. Organs procured from brain-dead hyperbaric oxygen-treated donors may have less cellular injury from ischemia, reperfusion, and no-reflow phenomenon, thus yielding organs in an optimized state for transplantation. This current report consists of a gratifying experience about hyperbaric oxygen treatment playing a possible role on preservation of donor organs in vivo. In the siblings reported here, improved organ function prior to transplantation and the successful organ functioning after transplantation suggests the possible beneficial effect of hyperbaric oxygen treatment on the ischemic insult generated from brain death and repetitive cardiac arrests. Hyperbaric oxygen seems to be a promising candidate as a bridge to transplantation, keeping the donated organs viable until the harvesting procedure can take place for potential brain dead donors. This experience may lead to further investigations on hyperbaric oxygen's role in donor organ preservation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Death*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperbaric Oxygenation*
  • Ischemia
  • Male
  • Organ Preservation / instrumentation*
  • Organ Preservation / methods*
  • Organ Transplantation / methods*
  • Preservation, Biological*
  • Reperfusion Injury
  • Tissue Donors
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement