The Groningen hypothermic liver perfusion pump: Functional evaluation of a new machine perfusion system

A. van der Plaats, M.H.J. Maathuis, N.A. 't Hart, A.A. Bellekom, H.S. Hofker, E.B. van der Houwen, G.J. Verkerke, H.G.D. Leuvenink, P. Verdonck, R.J. Ploeg, G. Rakhorst*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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To improve preservation of donor livers, we have developed a portable hypothermic machine perfusion (HMP) system as an alternative for static cold storage. A prototype of the system was built and evaluated on functionality. Evaluation criteria included 24 h of adequate pressure controlled perfusion, sufficient oxygenation, a maintained 0-4°C temperature and sterile conditions. Porcine livers were perfused with pump pressures that were set at 4 mmHg (continuous, portal vein) and 30/20 mmHg, at 60 BPM (pulsatile, hepatic artery). Control livers were preserved using the clinical golden standard: static cold storage. In the HMP group, pressure, flow and temperature were continuously monitored for 24 h. At time-points t = 0, 2, 4, 8, 12, and 24 h samples of University of Wisconsin machine preservation solution were taken for measurement of partial oxygen pressure (pO2) and lacto-dehydrogenase. Biopsies in every lobe were taken for histology and electron microscopy; samples of ice, preservation solution, liver surface, and bile were taken and cultured to determine sterility. Results showed that temperature was maintained at 0-4°C; perfusion pressure was maintained at 4 mmHg and 30/20 mmHg for portal vein and hepatic artery, respectively. Flow was approximately 350 and 80 ml/min, respectively, but decreased in the portal vein, probably due to edema formation. Arterial pO2 was kept at 100 kPa. Histology showed complete perfusion of the liver with no major damage to hepatocytes, bile ducts, and non-parenchymal cells compared to control livers. The machine perfusion system complied to the design criteria and will have to demonstrate the superiority of machine perfusion over cold storage in transplant experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1924-1934
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of biomedical engineering
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Cold storage
  • Dual
  • Liver
  • Machine perfusion
  • Oxygen
  • Preservation
  • Transplantation
  • UW

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