Specialized doctors at Utah’s Intermountain Healthcare are leveraging new, state-of-the-art technology designed to preserve donor organs, maintaining cold and healthy samples during transportation for lifesaving surgery—they recently performed the first liver transplants in Utah with this new infrastructure in place. These surgeries are part of an ongoing clinical trial comparing the traditional cold storage method of an organ transportation to the portable hypothermic machine preservation system.
Old to the New
Previously, researchers depended on transferring liver organs from one site to another using “static” cold preservation, which involved placing the liver in a solution inside an ice-filled cooler; while the new “active” preservation method was designed to enhance the standard technique in action since the late 1960s.
The Clinical Trial
To date, the Intermountain Healthcare transplant research team has used more than 10 procedures where the study team compared the traditional cold storage model, or organ transportation, to the new portable hypothermic machine preservation system, reports the Deseret News. Dr. Diane Alonso, program director of Intermountain Healthcare’s abdominal transplant program and principal investigator on the clinical trial, reported to the Deseret News “The primary objective of this clinical trial is to provide reasonable assurance of safe and effective use of transporting livers for our transplant patients.”
Dr. Alonso continued, “In the long run, we hope to use this technology in the future to increase the number of organs available for transplantation, while reducing complications and shortening the length of hospital stays.”
More Granular Assessment of Donated Livers
Moreover, the study site hopes that based on this new technology, their transplant teams have a better way to assess donated livers or assess potential donor livers to determine if the Utah-based health system can actually use organs that would otherwise be discarded.
Dr. Diane Alonso, program director of Intermountain Healthcare’s abdominal transplant program and principal investigator.