UC Health performs first liver transplant in US using mobile cold perfusion pump

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Transplant surgeons at UC Health’s University of Cincinnati (UC) Medical Center have performed the first-ever liver transplant in the United States with an organ preserved using portable hypothermic machine perfusion. The technology, which had been under development for several years, is designed to circulate a specially formulated, cold-temperature medical solution throughout a donor liver during its journey from the point of donation to surgical transplantation into a recipient.

This “active” preservation device was invented to improve upon traditional “static” cold preservation, which stores the liver in a cool box filled with ice. Static cold storage has been the standard of care for liver preservation since the first successful liver transplant was performed in the United States in 1967.

The procedure at UC Health was done as part of the first multicenter clinical trial comparing portable hypothermic machine preservation of donated livers with livers placed in static cold storage prior to transplant. The trial will evaluate several aspects of the organ preservation process, including potential benefits for improving transplant patient health.

“We hope to determine through this study which is the best way to transport donated livers and to provide the best outcomes for our transplant patients,” said Shimul Shah, MD, UC Health surgeon and the James and Catherine Orr Endowed Chair in Liver Transplantation, director of the Division of Transplantation and professor of surgery at the UC College of Medicine. “We are always striving for new and better ways to help save lives and improve patient outcomes.”

Shah and his team performed the first surgery on April 7 and performed a second one on April 15. Both recipients are recovering well.

UC Medical Center is the first of eight participating transplant centers in the U.S. to enroll patients in this clinical trial. Surgeons hope to determine whether this novel approach to organ preservation is better for the donor organ and transplant recipient than the traditional method of static cold storage.

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Corey Bryant serves as Director of Communications for The Alliance.
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  1. Gerald  December 10, 2019

    With the advent of new technologies, medical treatments have also advanced. With skilled Liver surgeon operating miracles can be performed to save a patient. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post.


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