Revolutionary Device Keeps Liver Preserved Outside A Human Body

Category: Technology / Mar 15, 2013 6:23PM EDT
British scientists revealed that human livers can now be kept alive and functioning outside the body on a new machine, which they say will double the numbers of livers available for transplant. Constantin Coussios, a professor of biomedical engineering at Oxford University, and Professor Nigel Heaton, liver transplant surgeon at King's College Hospital, announced the news at a press conference that this revolutionary device could possibly double the number of livers available for transplant. Professor Heaton performed the two trial surgeries where the new technology preserves the liver at body temperature, supplying it with oxygenated red blood cells to keep it alive. A donated human liver has been kept alive, warm and functioning outside a human being on a newly-developed machine and then successfully transplanted into patients in a medical world first. The medical team announced that so far the procedure has been performed on two patients on Britain's liver transplant waiting list and both are making excellent recoveries. Currently livers destined for transplant are kept "on ice" in a process which cools them to slow down their metabolism and does not keep them functioning as they would inside a body. The team now plans to run a pilot trial with 20 more liver transplant patients and successful results could mean the device could be on the market by as early as 2014. (Video Source: REUTERS)