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Ann Transplant. 2004;9(1):57-8.

Kidney transplantation from organ donors following cardiopulmonary death using extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support.

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University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.


Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) has the ability to provide normal organ perfusion and oxygenation in the absence of cardiac function and thus has the potential to improve viability of subsequently transplanted kidneys. In addition, ECMO support allows the donation following cardiopulmonary death (DCD) process to occur in a controlled manner that is acceptable to staff unfamiliar with DCD. In 1999 our center implemented a controlled DCD program that incorporates post-mortem ECMO support of the organs. Arterial and venous cannulae are placed following consent to donate, but prior to withdrawal of support. ECMO circulation is initiated immediately following declaration of death. Following a brief period where the donor family is allowed to grieve, the donor is moved to the operating room where organ recovery occurs. We reviewed the results of 20 kidney transplants from 13 ECMO supported donors that occurred between October 2000 and August 2003. One renal allograft was lost due to surgical complications, all 19 remaining grafts functioned. An 11% (2/19) delayed graft function rate was observed. Kidneys donated from "controlled" ECMO supported CPD donors are a viable source of organs for renal transplantation. This recovery method warrants further investigation.

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