The dawn of liver perfusion machines

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Despite high demand, a severe shortage of suitable allografts limits the use of liver transplantation for the treatment of end-stage liver disease. The transplant community is turning to the utilization of high-risk grafts to fill the void. This review summarizes the reemergence of ex-vivo machine perfusion for liver graft preservation, including results of recent clinical trials and its specific role for reconditioning DCD, steatotic and elderly grafts.

Recent findings

Several phase-1 clinical trials demonstrate the safety and feasibility of machine perfusion for liver graft preservation. Machine perfusion has several advantages compared with static cold storage and may provide superior transplantation outcomes, particularly for marginal grafts. Ongoing multicenter trials aim to confirm the results of preclinical and pilot studies and establish the clinical utility of ex-vivo liver machine perfusion.

Summary

Mounting evidence supports the benefits of machine perfusion for preservation of liver grafts. Thus, machine perfusion is a promising strategy to expand the donor pool by reconditioning and assessing viability of DCD, elderly and steatotic grafts during the preservation period. Additionally, machine perfusion will serve as a platform to facilitate graft intervention and modification to further optimize marginal grafts.

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