Background & Aims: Although there is increasing interest in its use, definitive evidence demonstrating a benefit for postmortem normothermic regional perfusion (NRP) in controlled donation after circulatory death (cDCD) liver transplantation is lacking. The aim of this study was to compare results of cDCD liver transplants performed with postmortem NRP vs. super-rapid recovery (SRR), the current standard for cDCD. Methods: This was an observational cohort study including all cDCD liver transplants performed in Spain between June 2012 and December 2016, with follow-up ending in December 2017. Each donor hospital determined whether organ recovery was performed using NRP or SRR. The propensity scores technique based on the inverse probability of treatment weighting (IPTW) was used to balance covariates across study groups; logistic and Cox regression models were used for binary and time-to-event outcomes. Results: During the study period, there were 95 cDCD liver transplants performed with postmortem NRP and 117 with SRR. The median donor age was 56 years (interquartile range 45–65 years). After IPTW analysis, baseline covariates were balanced, with all absolute standardised differences <0.15. IPTW-adjusted risks were significantly improved among NRP livers for overall biliary complications (odds ratio 0.14; 95% CI 0.06–0.35, p <0.001), ischaemic type biliary lesions (odds ratio 0.11; 95% CI 0.02–0.57; p = 0.008), and graft loss (hazard ratio 0.39; 95% CI 0.20–0.78; p = 0.008). Conclusions: The use of postmortem NRP in cDCD liver transplantation appears to reduce postoperative biliary complications, ischaemic type biliary lesions and graft loss, and allows for the transplantation of livers even from cDCD donors of advanced age. Lay summary: This is a propensity-matched nationwide observational cohort study performed using livers recovered from donors undergoing cardiac arrest provoked by the intentional withdrawal of life support (controlled donation after circulatory death, cDCD). Approximately half of the livers were recovered after a period of postmortem in situ normothermic regional perfusion, which restored warm oxygenated blood to the abdominal organs, whereas the remainder were recovered after rapid preservation with a cold solution. The study results suggest that the use of postmortem normothermic regional perfusion helps reduce rates of post-transplant biliary complications and graft loss and allows for the successful transplantation of livers from older cDCD donors.
Hessheimer, A. J., Coll, E., Torres, F., Ruíz, P., Gastaca, M., Rivas, J. I., … Fondevila, C. (2019). Normothermic regional perfusion vs. super-rapid recovery in controlled donation after circulatory death liver transplantation. Journal of Hepatology, 70(4), 658–665. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2018.12.013