The shortage of organs has resulted in renewed interest in organs from non-heart-beating donors (NHBD). Viability assessment of such organs may reduce the incidence of delayed graft function and primary nonfunction. In Phase III of the NHBD programme, introduction of machine perfusion enabled the assessment of these marginal donors. Since then the graft survival has been 88.4% compared with the previous phase where machine perfusion or viability assessment was not done (45.5%). The parameters used were total glutathione S-transferase (GST) in the perfusate, the intrarenal vascular resistance (IRVR) and flow characteristics over time.
Methods: All NHBD kidneys were machine perfused through a locally developed perfusion system. The viability was assessed by serial measurements of the above-mentioned parameters.
Results: Forty-two local NHBD kidneys were retrieved and one kidney was imported, of which 19 donors (i.e. 38 kidneys) were of the uncontrolled (category II) donors. After viability assessment on machine perfusion; two kidneys were discarded due to positive tests for syphilis, four kidneys had high total GST levels, five kidneys due to high IRVR and poor flow characteristics and one did not flush on retrieval. Three kidneys were exported after viability tests. In 28 NHBD kidney recipients, immediate graft function was seen in two kidneys, 22 (84.6%) developed delayed graft function. One kidney had primary non-function, and two recipients lost their grafts, due to chronic rejection and renal vein thrombosis. There were two deaths, unrelated to transplantation. Graft survival was achieved in 88.4% (23/26 graft survival in phase III) of cases.
Conclusion: Machine perfusion and assessment of NHBD kidneys has been successfully introduced to the Newcastle NHBD programme. This approach, using renal transplants from largely category II donors produced a success rate of 88.4% which was significantly better than the phase II period (45.5%) of the program p=0.023, Fisher 2 tail test).
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