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Journal of Healthcare Engineering
Volume 3 (2012), Issue 2, Pages 279-298
Research Article

Addressing the Donor Liver Shortage with EX VIVO Machine Perfusion

Maria-Louisa Izamis,1 Tim a. Berendsen,1 Korkut Uygun,1 and Martin L. Yarmush1,2

1Center for Engineering in Medicine/Surgical Services, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Shriners Burns Hospital, Boston MA, USA
2Department of Biomedical Engineering, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ, USA

Received 1 May 2011; Accepted 1 October 2011

Copyright © 2012 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Despite a critical shortage of viable donor livers for transplantation, only a fraction of the available organs are used. Donor organ defects, which in the majority of cases are caused by extensive exposure to ischemia, cannot be reversed by static cold storage, the current gold standard of organ preservation. In this review, the role of machine perfusion (MP) in the recovery of non-transplantable ischemic donor organs is discussed. Though still in the experimental phase, various models of MP have consistently demonstrated that ischemic donor organs can be recovered to a transplantable state through continuous perfusion. MP can also provide dynamic quantitative assessments of the extent of ischemia, in addition to predicting the likelihood of organ recovery. Continued endeavors to translate MP into clinical use and eventually incorporate it into routine donor organ care will have a significant impact on the quality and availability of transplantable donor organs.