Therapeutic Hypothermia in Organ Donors: Follow-up and Safety Analysis

Transplantation. 2019 Nov;103(11):e365-e368. doi: 10.1097/TP.0000000000002890.


Background: In a recent trial, targeted mild hypothermia in brain-dead organ donors significantly reduced the incidence of delayed graft function after kidney transplantation. This trial was stopped early for efficacy. Here, we report long-term graft survival for all organs along with donor critical care end points.

Methods: We assessed graft survival through 1 year of all solid organs transplanted from 370 donors who had been randomly assigned to hypothermia (34-35°C) or normothermia (36.5-37.5°C) before donation. Additionally, changes in standardized critical care end points were compared between donors in each group.

Results: Mild hypothermia was associated with a nonsignificant improvement in 1-year kidney transplant survival (95% versus 92%; hazard ratio, 0.61 [0.31-1.20]; P = 0.15). Mild hypothermia was associated with higher 1-year graft survival in the subgroup of standard criteria donors (97% versus 93%; hazard ratio, 0.39 [0.15 to -1.00]; P = 0.05). There were no significant differences in graft survival of extrarenal organs. There were no differences in critical care end points between groups.

Conclusions: Mild hypothermia in the donor safely reduced the rate of delayed graft function in kidney transplant recipients without adversely affecting donor physiology or extrarenal graft survival. Kidneys from standard criteria donors who received targeted mild hypothermia had improved 1-year graft survival.

Trial registration: NCT01680744.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Temperature
  • Brain Death
  • Delayed Graft Function
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Graft Survival*
  • Humans
  • Hypothermia, Induced*
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Kidney / surgery
  • Kidney Transplantation / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Safety
  • Perfusion
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Tissue Donors*
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data