Researchers at Groningen University’s teaching hospital are starting to use a new method to keep and repair donor organs, broadcaster Nos says on Friday.
The UMCG is the first hospital in the country to use the new system which may allow a 10% to 20% increase in donations, the broadcaster says. The hospital has been equipped with a special room where human organs such as livers, kidneys and lungs can be kept for transplantation under the best possible conditions.
The organs are being connected to special machines – described by Nos as being like a heart and lung machine – to keep the organ functioning. This will help repair damage to the organs themselves by, for example, allowing doctors to remove excess moisture from them.
‘Transplants are possible because we keep the organs on ice,’ surgeon Robert Porte told Radio 1 news. ‘That means they die more slowly and an organ needs little oxygen. But this is not ideal.’
The new system, he says, gives the organ the feeling it is still in a human body because ‘it is provided with oxygen and food and a flow of blood.’ Organs kept using this method are better accepted by the recipient.
The new method also means more organs can be used. Currently organs from people with diabetes or who are considered too old are not considered suitable. ‘From now on we can say that we will try to get the organs in the best possible condition outside the body,’ Porte said.
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