What is liver machine perfusion (MP)?
Traditionally, when the organ is taken out of the donor, the blood is flushed out and it is transported to the recipient packed in ice.
With machine perfusion, the liver is connected to the machine, oxygenated and the function of the liver is measured. It is believed that this method helps preserve the liver while in transit and improve the quality of the organ.
The measurements made while on perfusion allows surgeons to transplant livers that were previously not considered to work well enough (because the machine provides data to show that the livers do function well).
Machine perfusion also enables better planning and management of logistics. It allows longer transport times than if transported in ice, which is important now the UK is using a national offering systemwhere organs may need to travel from one end of the country to another.
Liver perfusion is a new technology, and we are still learning about it through research trials. Ultimately, by using liver perfusion technology we hope that the pool of usable organs for transplantation will be increased, time on waiting lists reduced, and more lives saved.