In order to meet the increasing demand for donor organs, the concept of donation after circulatory death (DCD) was reintroduced in Norway, first as a pilot study, followed by the use of DCD as institutional practice. We report the current Norwegian experience with liver transplant after DCD.
After acceptance from next of kin, life support was withdrawn from patients with devastating brain injury and cardiac arrest observed. After a 5-minute "no-touch" period, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for post mortem normothermic regional perfusion (NRP) by extracorporeal membrane oxygenator circuit was established. Data from all liver transplant recipients receiving controlled DCD (cDCD) livers in Oslo were analyzed.
From 2015 to 2017, a total of 8 patients underwent liver transplant with cDCD and NRP liver grafts in Norway. Median Model for End-Stage Liver Disease score was 26 (range, 6-40). There were no cases of delayed graft function or graft loss. Seven patients have reached 1 year of follow-up, and 1 patient has reached 6 months. Two patients have recurrence of primary disease (primary sclerosing cholangitis and steatohepatitis). All patients had normalized liver function at last follow-up. Two patients underwent procedures for biliary complications. In 1 patient, leakage from the cystic duct was successfully handled endoscopically by stenting. In the other patient, a suspected stricture on magnetic resonance imaging led to an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, which did not confirm signs of biliary stenosis. There was 1 instance of hepatic artery stenosis, which was managed with endovascular technique.
The results after liver transplant using cDCD with NRP are good. The rate of complications seems to be within the same range as when using conventional donation after brain death grafts.