INTRODUCTION: Extended criteria donor (ECD) livers are increasingly accepted for transplantation in an attempt to reduce the gap between the number of patients on the waiting list and the available number of donor livers. ECD livers; however, carry an increased risk of developing primary non-function (PNF), early allograft dysfunction (EAD) or post-transplant cholangiopathy. Ischaemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) plays an important role in the development of these complications. Machine perfusion reduces IRI and allows for reconditioning and subsequent evaluation of liver grafts. Single or dual hypothermic oxygenated machine perfusion (DHOPE) (4°C-12°C) decreases IRI by resuscitation of mitochondria. Controlled oxygenated rewarming (COR) may further reduce IRI by preventing sudden temperature shifts. Subsequent normothermic machine perfusion (NMP) (37°C) allows for ex situ viability assessment to facilitate the selection of ECD livers with a low risk of PNF, EAD or post-transplant cholangiopathy.
METHODS AND ANALYSIS: This prospective, single-arm study is designed to resuscitate and evaluate initially nationwide declined ECD livers. End-ischaemic DHOPE will be performed for the initial mitochondrial and graft resuscitation, followed by COR of the donor liver to a normothermic temperature. Subsequently, NMP will be continued to assess viability of the liver. Transplantation into eligible recipients will proceed if all predetermined viability criteria are met within the first 150 min of NMP. To facilitate machine perfusion at different temperatures, a perfusion solution containing a haemoglobin-based oxygen carrier will be used. With this protocol, we aim to transplant extra livers. The primary endpoint is graft survival at 3 months after transplantation.
ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This protocol was approved by the medical ethical committee of Groningen, METc2016.281 in August 2016 and registered in the Dutch Trial registration number TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NTR5972, NCT02584283.