Temperature and oxygenation during organ preservation: friends or foes?

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The liberalization of donor selection criteria in organ transplantation, with the increased use of suboptimal grafts, has stimulated interest in ischemia–reperfusion injury prevention and graft reconditioning. Organ preservation technologies are changing considerably, mostly through the reintroduction of dynamic machine preservation. Here, we review the current evidence on the role of temperature and oxygenation during dynamic machine preservation.

Recent findings

A large but complex body of evidence exists and comparative studies are few. Oxygenation seems to support an advantageous effect in hypothermic machine preservation and is mandatory in normothermic machine preservation, although in the latter, supraphysiological oxygen tensions should be avoided. High-risk grafts, such as suboptimal organs, may optimally benefit from oxygenated perfusion conditions that support metabolism and activate mechanisms of repair such as subnormothermic machine preservation, controlled oxygenated rewarming, and normothermic machine preservation. For lower risk grafts, oxygenation during hypothermic machine preservation may sufficiently reduce injuries and recharge the cellular energy to secure functional recovery after transplantation.

Summary

The relationship between temperature and oxygenation in organ preservation is more complex than physiological laws would suggest. Rather than one default perfusion temperature/oxygenation standard, perfusion protocols should be tailored for specific needs of grafts of different quality.

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