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Machine Could Replace Traditional Ice Storage For Donated Kidneys

January 1, 2009

New findings from a European study suggest that a new device may be more effective at storing donor kidneys than traditional methods involving ice.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, looked at 366 pairs of donated kidneys to determine whether the device should be recommended for use. The study took place in The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

Kidneys are donated by deceased donors just after they die in an effort to harvest the organ before it begins to deteriorate.

Transplants traditionally take place with donated kidneys that are flushed with a solution before being placed in an iced container.

But new devices known as “cold infusion machines” may offer a more efficient alternative. The devices can be attached to blood vessels which supply the kidney, and push a steady flow of cool solution around them.

The study revealed that survival after one year was higher in the machine stored kidneys ““ 94 percent compared with 90 percent.

Also, 70 out of 336 recipients developed “delayed function” compared with 89 out of 336 who received an ice-stored kidney.

Analysts looked at two indicators of success or failure – the survival of the transplanted organ in the 12 months after surgery, and a delay in the functioning of the donor kidney once placed into the recipient.

“This trial shows us that, regardless of the health of the donor, by using machine preservation we can ensure that there will be more kidneys available for transplantation and that they will be in better health,” said research leader Professor Rutger Ploeg, from the University Medical Center in Groningen.

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