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11 August 2015 : Original article  

Twelve-Hour Hypothermic Machine Perfusion for Donor Heart Preservation Leads to Improved Ultrastructural Characteristics Compared to Conventional Cold Storage

Sebastian G. MichelABCDEF, Glenn M. LaMuraglia IIAB, Maria Lucia L. MadariagaABCD, James S. TitusABD, Martin K. SeligBC, Evan A. FarkashBCD, James S. AllanCDE, Lisa M. AndersonAG, Joren C. MadsenADEG

DOI: 10.12659/AOT.893784

Ann Transplant 2015; 20:461-468

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Hypothermic machine perfusion of donor hearts has the theoretical advantage of continuous aerobic metabolism and washes out toxic metabolic byproducts. Here, we studied the effect of hypothermic machine perfusion on cardiac myocyte integrity when hearts are preserved for longer ischemic times (12 hours).

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Pig hearts were harvested and stored in Celsior® solution for 12 hours using either conventional cold storage on ice (12 h CS, n=3) or pulsatile perfusion with the Paragonix Sherpa Perfusion™ Cardiac Transport System at different flow rates (12 h PP, n=3 or 12 h PP low flow, n=2). After cold preservation, hearts were reperfused using an LV isovolumic Langendorff system. Controls (n=3) were reperfused immediately after organ harvest. Biopsies were taken from the apex of the left ventricle before storage, after storage and after reperfusion to measure ATP and endothelin-1 content in the tissue. TUNEL staining for signs of apoptosis and electron microscopy of the donor hearts were performed.

RESULTS: 12 h PP hearts showed significantly more weight gain than 12 h CS and controls after preservation. Pulsatile perfused hearts showed less ATP depletion, lower endothelin-1 levels and less apoptosis after preservation compared to CS. Electron microscopy showed damaged muscle fibers, endothelial cell rupture, and injury of mitochondria in the 12 h CS group, while machine perfusion could preserve the cell structures.

CONCLUSIONS: Hypothermic machine perfusion of donor hearts can preserve the cell structures better than conventional cold storage in prolonged ischemic times. Hypothermic pulsatile perfusion may therefore enable longer preservation times of donor hearts. Whether this method is able to avoid primary graft failure after orthotopic heart transplantation remains to be evaluated in further studies.

Keywords: Heart Transplantation, Myocardial Reperfusion Injury, Perfusion

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Annals of Transplantation eISSN: 2329-0358
Annals of Transplantation eISSN: 2329-0358