Normothermic extracorporeal human liver perfusion following donation after cardiac death

Rinaldo Bellomo, Bruno Marino, Graham Starkey, Bhao Zhong Wang, Michael A. Fink, Nan Zhu, Satoshi Suzuki, Shane Houston, Glenn Eastwood, Paolo Calzavacca, Neil Glassford, Brenton Chambers, Alison Skene, Antoine G. Schneider, Daryl Jones, Andrew Hilton, Helen Opdam, Stephen Warrillow, Nicole Gauthier, Lynne JohnsonRobert Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


• Liver transplantation is a major life-saving procedure and donation after cardiac death (DCD) has increased the pool of potential liver donors. • However, livers procured after DCD are at increased risk of primary graft dysfunction and biliary tract ischaemia. Normothermic extracorporeal liver perfusion (NELP) may increase the ability to protect, evaluate and, in future, transplant DCD livers. • We conducted a proof-of-concept experiment using a human liver procured by DCD (deemed not suitable for liver donation) to assess the short-term (3 hours) feasibility, histological effects and functional efficacy of NELP. • We used an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation circuit with separate hepatic artery and portal vein perfusion to achieve physiological perfusion pressures, and coupled this with parenteral nutrition and an insulin infusion. We achieved NELP with evidence of liver function (bile production, paracetamol removal and control of ammonia, bilirubin and lactate levels) for 3 hours. There was essentially normal liver and biliary tract histology after 8 hours of perfusion. • Our experiment justifies further investigation of the feasibility and efficacy of human DCD liver preservation by NELP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-82
Number of pages5
JournalCritical Care and Resuscitation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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