A transplant surgeon monitors a donated liver being perfused by the LifePort Liver Transporter prior to transport to an awaiting transplant hospital. Photo courtesy Organ Recovery Systems.
INDIANA DONOR NETWORK COORDINATES FIRST LIVER TRANSPLANT USING GROUNDBREAKING MACHINE PERFUSION DEVICE
Organization takes bold step to test and deploy the LifePort Liver Transporter, becoming first organ procurement organization in U.S. to utilize such technology to save lives.
New machine perfusion technology preserves and protects a donated liver from recovery to an awaiting transplant patient.
The machine potentially expands organ utilization, leading to more donor livers available for transplant.
Machine perfusion significantly increases the donated organ’s chance of being successfully transplanted.
INDIANAPOLIS – An Indiana woman who died late last year made history – for two reasons.
First, at 90, she is the oldest person on record in Indiana to be an organ donor. Second, her liver donation was the first coordinated by a U.S. organ procurement organization – Indiana Donor Network – using new technology to preserve and protect the donated liver after recovery in Indiana and during transport to a Midwest transplant center.
The milestone deployment of this innovative technology was the product of an FDA-authorized continued access study over the past two years, evaluating the use of the LifePort Liver Transporter.
“We strive to find new and innovative ways to utilize technology and push the boundaries of what is possible for donation and transplantation,” said Indiana Donor Network President and CEO Kellie Tremain. “Our goal is to end the wait for lifesaving organ transplants. This is another step in that direction.”
Manufactured by Illinois-based Organ Recovery Systems, the LifePort Liver Transporter emulates a human body through a process called oxygenated hypothermic machine perfusion. This process pumps an oxygenated, nutrient-rich preservation solution through the liver to maximize preservation outside the body. Nearly 30 Indiana Donor Network advanced clinical coordinators and surgical recovery specialists have been specifically trained to use the device.
With machine perfusion, a donated liver can remain viable for transplant for a considerably longer time. Using the traditional preservation method of static cold storage, a donated liver remains viable for transplant for less than six hours. Keeping a donated liver functioning after the recovery surgery allows more time to test and assess the organ’s health. It can also improve a liver’s function, which may allow more donated livers to be available for transplant.
Indiana Donor Network first utilized the LifePort Liver Transporter in the November 2023 transplant coordination and now awaits FDA clearance for unrestricted clinical use of the device throughout the U.S.
While the FDA continued access study continues, Indiana Donor Network can currently utilize the machine when requested by any of the four participating transplant centers that are also participating in the trial, including University of Cincinnati Medical Center, University of Chicago, Northwestern University and University Hospital-Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.
“One of the biggest problems in organ transplantation is availability. There are far more people waiting for a lifesaving transplant than there are available organs,” said Indiana Donor Network Director of Organ Services Sherry Quire. “This breakthrough technology limits organ damage during preservation, improves patient outcomes and increases utilization of more donor livers for even more lifesaving transplants.”
Utilization of the LifePort Liver Transporter is the organization’s second venture into implementing perfusion technology to increase the rate of organ transplantation success. In 2021, Indiana Donor Network began utilizing kidney perfusion devices to sustain function and extend testing and transportation time for donated kidneys. In 2023, the organization’s 12 kidney perfusion devices kept 446 donated kidneys functioning outside the body from recovery to transplantation.
Indiana Donor Network is the federally designated organ recovery organization that coordinates organ and tissue donation in Indiana and transplantation throughout the U.S. Its mission is to save and enhance the quality of life through organ and tissue donation and transplantation. Its vision is to be a leader in organ and tissue recovery. Founded in 1987, the organization coordinates donation in 85 of the state’s 92 counties and serves transplant hospitals throughout the U.S.
Donate Life America
We strive to find new and innovative ways to utilize technology and push the boundaries of what is possible for donation and transplantation. Our goal is to end the wait for lifesaving organ transplants. This is another step in that direction.
About Indiana Donor Network
The decision to become an organ and tissue donor is a decision to give the gift of life. Indiana Donor Network serves as the vital link between donors and patients waiting for lifesaving organ transplants and healing tissue. The organization is a federally designated organ recovery organization and accredited tissue bank serving 85 of Indiana’s 92 counties. Its team of more than 275 dedicated professionals is committed to saving and healing lives through donation and transplantation, championing the cause through education and outreach and supporting donor families in their time of need. For more or to sign up as a donor, visit Indiana Donor Network online. Indiana Donor Network® and the Indiana Donor Network Foundation® are federally registered trademarks. For more, visit Indiana Donor Network online.
About Donate Life Indiana
Since 1998, Donate Life Indiana has been the state-authorized nonprofit organization responsible for managing the Indiana donor registry. Its mission is to save lives by creating opportunities for all Indiana citizens to sign up on the organization’s official state registry while striving to raise awareness for organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation through public education. For more, visit Donate Life Indiana online.