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Tuesday's Health Report: New technologies are helping to preserve livers prepping for transplant

1 month 4 weeks 1 day ago Tuesday, May 21 2024 May 21, 2024 May 21, 2024 5:57 PM May 21, 2024 in Health
Source: CNN

BATON ROUGE —  When it comes to organ donations, every second counts. Time is often the biggest factor when it comes to a viable organ.

That is why new technology is being used to help preserve livers before they are transplanted.

"Many have seen the ice coolers that we use to store the organ between the donor and the recipient. And when we get back to the transplant center, we take the organ off of ice and do the transplant, but ice storage is not the healthiest way of sustaining an organ that's going to be transplanted. And so, the new machine perfusion technologies that we have keep the organ somewhat alive between the donor and the recipient," said Dr. David Reich, surgical director at the Cleveland Clinic.

Perfusion makes it possible to pump oxygenated blood or solution through a donor's liver outside the body. That can help improve the quality of the organ. It also gives surgeons a chance to better examine the liver and determine if it's healthy enough to be transplanted or if they can further rejuvenate the liver.

Research shows perfusion has helped reduce the risk for complications as well.

"We have better results when we use perfusion. Patients go home from the hospital sooner, they have fewer complications, they have better safety in the operating room during the transplants, and then during their post-operative and longer-term course," Reich said.

Research continues on the use of this new technology, but it's already showing a lot of promise and is starting to be used for other types of organ transplants. 

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