Background Despite careful clinical examination, procurement biopsy and assessment on hypothermic machine perfusion, a significant number of potentially useable deceased donor kidneys will be discarded because they are deemed unsuitable for transplantation. Ex vivo normothermic perfusion (EVNP) may be useful as a means to further assess high-risk kidneys to determine suitability for transplantation. Methods From June 2014 to October 2015, 7 kidneys (mean donor age, 54.3 years and Kidney Donor Profile Index, 79%) that were initially procured with the intention to transplant were discarded based on a combination of clinical findings, suboptimal biopsies, long cold ischemia time (CIT) and/or poor hypothermic perfusion parameters. They were subsequently placed on EVNP using oxygenated packed red blood cells and supplemental nutrition for a period of 3 hours. Continuous hemodynamic and functional parameters were assessed. Results After a mean CIT of 43.7 hours, all 7 kidneys appeared viable on EVNP with progressively increasing renal blood flow over the 3-hour period of perfusion. Five of the 7 kidneys had excellent macroscopic appearance, rapid increase in blood flow to 200 to 250 mL/min, urine output of 40 to 260 mL/h and increasing creatinine clearance. Conclusions Favorable perfusion characteristics and immediate function after a 3-hour course of EVNP suggests that high-risk kidneys subjected to long CIT may have been considered for transplantation. The combined use of ex vivo hypothermic and normothermic perfusion may be a useful strategy to more adequately assess and preserve high-risk kidneys deemed unsuitable for transplantation. A clinical trial will be necessary to validate the usefulness of this approach.
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