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New device keeps human liver alive outside body

03-16-2013 08:42 BJT

LONDON, March.15 (Xinhua) -- Donated human liver could be "kept alive" outside a human being with a newly invented device,and then successfully transplant into patients,the British researchers reported on Friday.

The Oxford University researchers, together with surgeons at King's College Hospital, announced here, that the procedure had been performed on two patients and both are making "excellent recoveries."

Currently transplantation depends on preserving donor organs by putting them "on ice"-cooling them to slow their metabolism. But this often leads to organs becoming damaged.

The technology, developed at Oxford University and now being trialled at the liver transplant centre at King's College Hospital, could preserve a functioning liver outside the body for 24 hours by stimulating the natural environment-providing body temperature and oxygenated red blood cells,etc. Once on the machine, a liver functions normally, regaining its colour and producing bile.

The results from the first two transplants, carried out at King's College Hospital last month, suggest that the device could be useful for all patients needing liver transplants.

"The device is the very first completely automated liver perfusion device of its kind," said Professor Constantin Coussios of Oxford University's Department of Engineering Science, one of the machine's inventors, "what was even more amazing was to see the same liver transplanted into a patient who is now walking around."

Professor Nigel Heaton, Director of Transplant Surgery at King's College Hospital, said: "The fundamentals of liver transplantation have not changed in decades. Buying the surgeon extra time extends the options open to our patients, many of whom would otherwise die waiting for an organ to become available."

According to statistics,in Europe and the U.S., there is a waiting list of around 30,000 patients every year, and up to 25 percent of these patients die whilst awaiting transplantation. Meanwhile, over 2,000 livers are discarded annually because they are either damaged by oxygen deprivation or do not survive cold preservation.

 

Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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