Long-term normothermic machine preservation of human livers: what is needed to succeed?

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Although short‐term machine perfusion (≤24 h) allows for resuscitation and viability assessment of high‐risk donor livers, the donor organ shortage might be further remedied by long‐term perfusion machines. Extended preservation of injured donor livers may allow reconditioning, repairing, and regeneration. This review summarizes the necessary requirements and challenges for long‐term liver machine preservation, which requires integrating multiple core physiological functions to mimic the physiological environment inside the body. A pump simulates the heart in the perfusion system, including automatically controlled adjustment of flow and pressure settings. Oxygenation and ventilation are required to account for the absence of the lungs combined with continuous blood gas analysis. To avoid pressure necrosis and achieve heterogenic tissue perfusion during preservation, diaphragm movement should be simulated. An artificial kidney is required to remove waste products and control the perfusion solution’s composition. The perfusate requires an oxygen carrier, but will also be challenged by coagulation and activation of the immune system. The role of the pancreas can be mimicked through closed‐loop control of glucose concentrations by automatic injection of insulin or glucagon. Nutrients and bile salts, generally transported from the intestine to the liver, have to be supplemented when preserving livers long term. Especially for long‐term perfusion, the container should allow maintenance of sterility. In summary, the main challenge to develop a long‐term perfusion machine is to maintain the liver’s homeostasis in a sterile, carefully controlled environment. Long‐term machine preservation of human livers may allow organ regeneration and repair, thereby ultimately solving the shortage of donor livers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)G183-G200
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology. Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Volume322
Issue number2
Early online date19-Jan-2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1-Feb-2022

Keywords

  • isolated liver perfusion
  • liver physiology
  • liver preservation
  • liver transplantation
  • machine perfusion
  • EXTRACORPOREAL MEMBRANE-OXYGENATION
  • CARDIOPULMONARY BYPASS
  • PRIMARY NONFUNCTION
  • COMPLEMENT ACTIVATION
  • FUNCTIONAL ASSESSMENT
  • ORGAN PRESERVATION
  • PERFUSION SYSTEM
  • KIDNEY PERFUSION
  • BLOOD-FLOW
  • TRANSPLANTATION

Cite this