Livers retrieved after circulatory death are associated with an increased incidence of primary nonfunction, early allograft dysfunction, and biliary strictures. The authors report a case of preimplant normothermic perfusion of a suboptimal liver from a 57-year-old donor after circulatory death who had been hospitalized for 9 days; predonation alanine transaminase level was 63 IU/L, and the period from withdrawal of life-supporting treatment to circulatory arrest was 150 minutes. After 5 hours of static cold storage, the liver was subject to normothermic machine perfusion with a plasma-free red cell-based perfusate. Perfusate lactate level fell from 7.2 to 0.3 mmol/L within 74 minutes of ex situ perfusion, at which point perfusate alanine transaminase level was 1152 IU/L and urea concentration was 9.4 mmol/L. After 132 minutes, normothermic perfusion was stopped and implantation begun. After transplantation, the patient made an uneventful recovery and was discharged on day 8; liver biochemistry was normal by day 19 and has remained normal thereafter. Donor common bile duct excised at implantation showed preservation of peribiliary glands, and cholangiography 6 months posttransplantation showed no evidence of cholangiopathy. Preimplant ex situ normothermic perfusion of the liver appears to be a promising way to evaluate a marginal liver before transplantation and may modify the response to ischemia.
Keywords: Preimplant ex situ normothermic liver perfusion; donation after circulatory death; liver transplantation.
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