Basic considerations in organ perfusion physiology

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Purpose of review

Owing to a severe shortage of organs for patients with end-stage diseases, novel techniques in organ preservation and perfusion need to be studied and reviewed to increase the number of available organs for transplant. Many patients will die while waiting for an organ. To make organs from extended-criteria donors feasible, optimal conditions for pulsatile perfusion and the potential for organ reconditioning at implantation need to be addressed.

Recent findings

Many techniques in organ preservation and perfusion are being studied. Several laboratories are studying the effects of temperature for organ perfusion. Two areas being studied are hypothermic and normothermic machine perfusion. In the area of organ preservation, new solutions are being studied such as a substrate-enriched, oxygen-saturated, and leukocyte-depleted perfusate to help with organ quality.


Even with the strides being made in organ preservation and perfusion, there are still many unanswered questions. More studies will need to be done to find the optimal conditions for duration of perfusion in the cold phase, optimal perfusion solution, degree of oxygenation, and the addition of pharmacologic agents, to improve organ function and expand the organ pool.

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