Mild hypothermia in deceased organ donors improves organ function in kidney transplant

EurekAlert | University of California San Francisco

Finding by UCSF researchers could increase overall organ availability

Mild hypothermia in deceased organ donors significantly reduces delayed graft function in kidney transplant recipients when compared to normal body temperature, according to UC San Francisco researchers and collaborators, a finding that could lead to an increase in the availability of kidneys for transplant.

Their study appears in the July 30 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

By passively cooling deceased organ donor body temperature by approximately two degrees from normal body temperature, researchers saw an overall nearly 40 percent increase in the successful function of donated kidneys after surgery. In particular, kidneys especially at risk of poor post-surgical functional were protected.

"This is a free intervention that can be done at any hospital in the world, and tens of thousands of patients worldwide can benefit from it," said lead author Claus Niemann, MD, professor of anesthesia and surgery at UCSF.

"It could have a major impact on global health, especially in resource-limited countries, and provide significant cost savings in the United States through less dialysis, shorter hospital stays and potentially less need for expensive interventions," Niemann continued. "In addition, it may allow us to consider organs we may otherwise reject, especially at the extremes of age, which would result in more patients benefiting from kidney transplantation. This is of critical importance given we have a complete mismatch of transplant need and organ supply in the United States." Continue reading