A study recently published in the New England Journal, discusses the use of therapeutic hypothermia in the care of organ donors and the impact on delayed kidney-graft function. Delayed graft function, is reported in up to 50% of kidney-transplant recipients and leads to increased healthcare costs and diminished long-term graft function. Dr. Claus Niemann from UC San Francisco and his study-team, randomly enrolled brain dead organ donors from two large donation service areas in to two temperature ranges: 34-35C (hypothermia) or 36.5-37.5C (normothermia).
The primary outcome evaluated was the rate of delayed graft function, which was defined as the need for dialysis during the first week post-transplantation. The secondary outcomes evaluated were the rates of individual organs transplanted in each group and the total number of organs recovered from each donor.
The study had to be terminated early, as the independent data and safety monitoring board, after interim analysis, recommended sufficient efficacy was demonstrated in the use of therapeutic hypothermia. The recommendations of the study are that targeted hypothermia in brain dead donors, can significantly reduce the rate of delayed graft function among recipients.
Nieman CU, Feiner J, Swain S, et al. (2015). Therapeutic hypothermia in deceased organ donors and kidney-graft function. N Engl J Med, 373(5): 405-414. – article