International Perfusion Association


Using Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation in Donations After Cardiac Death or Brain Death: A Single-Center Experience and Long-Term Outcome

Aims: The use of extended criteria donors is a routine practice that sometimes involves extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in donations after cardiac death or brain death.

Methods: We performed a retrospective study in a single center from January 2006 to December 2019. The study included 90 deceased donor liver transplants. The patients were divided into three groups: the donation after brain death (DBD) group (n = 58, 64.4%), the DBD with ECMO group (n= 11, 12.2%) and the donation after cardiac death (DCD) with ECMO group (n = 21, 23.3%).

Results: There were no significant differences between the DBD with ECMO group and the DBD group. When comparing the DCD with ECMO group and the DBD group, there were statistically significant differences for total warm ischemia time (p < 0.001), total cold ischemia time (p = 0.023), and split liver transplantation (p < 0.001), and there was significantly poor recovery in regard to total bilirubin level (p = 0.027) for the DCD with ECMO group by repeated measures ANOVA. The 5-year survival rates of the DBD, DBD with ECMO, and DCD with ECMO groups were 78.1%, 90.9%, and 75.6%, respectively. The survival rate was not significantly different when comparing the DBD group to either the DBD with ECMO group (p = 0.435) or the DCD with ECMO group (p = 0.310).

Conclusions: Using ECMO in donations after cardiac death or brain death is a good technology, and it contributed to 35.6% of the liver graft pool.

Keywords: donation after brain death; donation after cardiac death; extracorporeal membrane oxygenation; liver transplantation; long‐term outcome.

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