Ischemic conditioning in solid organ transplantation: is it worth giving your right arm for?

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Purpose of review

Ischemia reperfusion injury (IRI) is an inevitable complication in solid organ transplantation. Limiting this injury can increase patient and graft survival and can decrease complications associated with transplantation. We provide an extensive literature review analyzing the available evidence for ischemic conditioning in solid organ transplantation, including kidney, liver, heart, and lung.

Recent findings

Ischemic conditioning strategies are a group of interventions, characterized by episodes of ischemia and reperfusion to an organ which confirm tissue protection. Arguably, transplantation is the ideal setting to use this novel strategy due to the predictable timing and duration of the ischemic insult. Liver transplantation has provided us with the most number of clinical trials, followed by kidney transplantation. Most of these trials have been negative but the methodology has been variable, making comparison difficult.


Despite the promising results seen in animal models, translating these results in clinical trials has proved to be difficult. The promising effects of ischemic conditioning are present in some trials with weaker positive signals existing in other trials. We believe that tailoring trials to allow better comparison will provide positive results in the future.

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