The use of nonheart-beating donors (NHBD), as a source for liver grafts, is the only way to objectively increase the activity in liver transplantation. Through the use of more strict criteria, 1-year graft survival has increased from 50% in initial series to 84–100%. With respect to type II NHBD (failure of cardiopulmonary resuscitation) we believe that the use of normothermic recirculation provides the possibility to obtain good quality grafts for transplantation. Our recent experience shows a 66% and 73% graft and patient survival respectively.
However, the incidence of biliary tract complications (ischemic type), as well as the relative low number of grafts procured that are finally transplanted, makes this methodology difficult to develop. The use of a ‘normothermic machine perfusion’ (once the liver is procured), added to the already described method, may actually increase the efficacy and safety of the whole procedure. Recent experience by our group as well as others have shown that the liver so perfused is able to recover from the warm ischemic lesion and at the same time the procedure allows the possibility to evaluate the quality of the potential graft.
NHBD are the only source that may objectively increased the number of liver transplant. The use of normothermic recirculation has proved to be effective and well tolerated. The addition of the ‘normothermic machine perfusion’ to the whole procedure may significantly increase the number of transplants.
Unidad de Trasplante Hepático, Institut de Malalties Digestives y Metabolicas, Hospital Clínic, Barcelona, Villarroel, Barcelona, Spain
Correspondence to Professor Juan Carlos García-Valdecasas, Servicio de Cirugía General y Digestiva, Unidad de Trasplante Hepático, Institut de Malalties Digestives y Metabolicas, Hospital Clínic, Barcelona, Villarroel 170, 08036 Barcelona, Spain E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org