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Machine perfusion in liver transplantation

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sam Tingle, Dr Emily ThompsonORCiD, Rodrigo Figueiredo, Balaji Mahendran, Sanjay PandanaboyanaORCiD, Professor Colin Wilson


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Copyright © 2023 The Cochrane Collaboration. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.BACKGROUND: Liver transplantation is the only chance of cure for people with end-stage liver disease and some people with advanced liver cancers or acute liver failure. The increasing prevalence of these conditions drives demand and necessitates the increasing use of donated livers which have traditionally been considered suboptimal. Several novel machine perfusion preservation technologies have been developed, which attempt to ameliorate some of the deleterious effects of ischaemia reperfusion injury. Machine perfusion technology aims to improve organ quality, thereby improving outcomes in recipients of suboptimal livers when compared to traditional static cold storage (SCS; ice box). OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effects of different methods of machine perfusion (including hypothermic oxygenated machine perfusion (HOPE), normothermic machine perfusion (NMP), controlled oxygenated rewarming, and normothermic regional perfusion) versus each other or versus static cold storage (SCS) in people undergoing liver transplantation. SEARCH METHODS: We used standard, extensive Cochrane search methods. The latest search date was 10 January 2023. SELECTION CRITERIA: We included randomised clinical trials which compared different methods of machine perfusion, either with each other or with SCS. Studies comparing HOPE via both hepatic artery and portal vein, or via portal vein only, were grouped. The protocol detailed that we also planned to include quasi-randomised studies to assess treatment harms. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: We used standard Cochrane methods. Our primary outcomes were 1. overall participant survival, 2. quality of life, and 3. serious adverse events. Secondary outcomes were 4. graft survival, 5. ischaemic biliary complications, 6. primary non-function of the graft, 7. early allograft function, 8. non-serious adverse events, 9. transplant utilisation, and 10. transaminase release during the first week post-transplant. We assessed bias using Cochrane's RoB 2 tool and used GRADE to assess certainty of evidence. MAIN RESULTS: We included seven randomised trials (1024 transplant recipients from 1301 randomised/included livers). All trials were parallel two-group trials; four compared HOPE versus SCS, and three compared NMP versus SCS. No trials used normothermic regional perfusion. When compared with SCS, it was uncertain whether overall participant survival was improved with either HOPE (hazard ratio (HR) 0.91, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.42 to 1.98; P = 0.81, I2 = 0%; 4 trials, 482 recipients; low-certainty evidence due to imprecision because of low number of events) or NMP (HR 1.08, 95% CI 0.31 to 3.80; P = 0.90; 1 trial, 222 recipients; very low-certainty evidence due to imprecision and risk of bias). No trials reported quality of life. When compared with SCS alone, HOPE was associated with improvement in the following clinically relevant outcomes: graft survival (HR 0.45, 95% CI 0.23 to 0.87; P = 0.02, I2 = 0%; 4 trials, 482 recipients; high-certainty evidence), serious adverse events in extended criteria DBD liver transplants (OR 0.45, 95% CI 0.22 to 0.91; P = 0.03, I2 = 0%; 2 trials, 156 participants; moderate-certainty evidence) and clinically significant ischaemic cholangiopathy in recipients of DCD livers (OR 0.31, 95% CI 0.11 to 0.92; P = 0.03; 1 trial, 156 recipients; high-certainty evidence). In contrast, NMP was not associated with improvement in any of these clinically relevant outcomes. NMP was associated with improved utilisation compared with SCS (one trial found a 50% lower rate of organ discard; P = 0.008), but the reasons underlying this effect are unknown. We identified 11 ongoing studies investigating machine perfusion technologies. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: In situations where the decision has been made to transplant a liver donated after circulatory death or donated following brain death, end-ischaemic HOPE will provide superior clinically relevant outcomes compared with SCS alone. Specifically, graft survival is improved (high-certainty evidence), serious adverse events are reduced (moderate-certainty evidence), and in donors after circulatory death, clinically relevant ischaemic biliary complications are reduced (high-certainty evidence). There is no good evidence that NMP has the same benefits over SCS in terms of these clinically relevant outcomes. NMP does appear to improve utilisation of grafts that would otherwise be discarded with SCS; however, the reasons for this, and whether this effect is specific to NMP, is not clear. Further studies into NMP viability criteria and utilisation, as well as head-to-head trials with other perfusion technologies are needed. In the setting of donation following circulatory death transplantation, further trials are needed to assess the effect of these ex situ machine perfusion methods against, or in combination with, normothermic regional perfusion.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Tingle SJ, Dobbins JJ, Thompson ER, Figueiredo RS, Mahendran B, Pandanaboyana S, Wilson C

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Year: 2023

Volume: 9

Online publication date: 12/09/2023

Acceptance date: 02/04/2023

ISSN (electronic): 1469-493X

Publisher: NLM (Medline)


DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD014685.pub2

PubMed id: 37698189