Ex Situ Machine Perfusion of Human Donor Livers via the Surgically Reopened Umbilical Vein: A Proof of Concept

Otto B van Leeuwen, Masato Fujiyoshi, Rinse Ubbink, Maureen J M Werner, Isabel M A Brüggenwirth, Robert J Porte, Vincent E de Meijer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
101 Downloads (Pure)


Background. Machine perfusion of donor livers is typically performed via the portal vein main stem. Instead, cannulation of a reopened umbilical vein could allow machine perfusion during organ procurement and subsequent implantation in the recipient without interruption of the portal venous circulation. We aimed to assess the feasibility of portal venous machine perfusion via the umbilical vein. Methods. During back table inspection of 5 human livers declined for transplantation, the umbilical vein was surgically reopened, dilated, and cannulated. Hypothermic and normothermic oxygenated machine perfusion (NMP) were performed using the umbilical vein for portal inflow. Three livers were perfused with hypothermic machine perfusion, 1 full liver graft underwent NMP for 4 hours, and 1 left lateral split procedure was performed under continuous NMP with portal perfusion via the umbilical vein. Results. In all livers, access to the portal venous system via the umbilical vein was successfully achieved with good portal flows and macroscopically homogeneous perfusion. The full liver graft that underwent NMP via the umbilical vein for 4 hours showed good lactate clearance, normalized pH, and achieved good bile production with pH >7.55. During the split procedure under continuous NMP via the umbilical vein, the left lateral segment and extended right lobe remained equally perfused, as demonstrated by Doppler ultrasound. Conclusions. Machine perfusion with portal perfusion via the umbilical vein is feasible. Portal venous flows were similar to those obtained after cannulation of the portal vein main stem. This technique enables continuous oxygenated perfusion of liver grafts during procurement, splitting, and implantation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2130-2135
Number of pages6
Issue number10
Early online date18-Feb-2019
Publication statusPublished - Oct-2019



Cite this