Extracorporeal support can significantly increase number of organs available for transplant

Using heart-lung support, researchers were able to increase the number of kidneys, livers and pancreases available for transplant by about 20 percent. The results were published in the journal Transplantation.
This publication details the impact of more than 10 years of using Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation, or ECMO, to improve the viability of organs donated after circulatory determination of death. “Organ transplant is limited by the number of donated organs available, so the use of organs that are donated after circulatory death is one way to increase the number of life-saving organs available for patients waiting for that gift of life,” says Alvaro Rojas-Pena, M.D., the lead author on the study and a research investigator for transplant surgery at the University of Michigan Health System. As of Aug. 6, 2014, 123,191 people nationwide were waiting for a solid organ transplant in the United States. The Institute of Medicine has named donation after circulatory determination of death as the number one research priority to improve organ donation.