Oxygen persufflation has shown experimentally to favorably influence hepatic energy dependent pathways and to improve survival after transplantation. The present trial evaluated oxygen persufflation as adjunct in clinical liver preservation. A total of n
= 116 adult patients (age: 54 (23–68) years, M/F: 70/46), were enrolled in this prospective randomized study. Grafts were randomized to either oxygen persufflation for ≥2 h (O2) or mere cold storage (control). Only liver grafts from donors ≥55 years and/or marginal grafts after multiple rejections by other centers were included. Primary endpoint was peak-aspartate aminotransferase (AST) level until post-operative day 3. Standard parameters including graft- and patient survival were analyzed by uni- and multivariate analysis. Both study groups were comparable except for a longer ICU stay (4 versus 3 days) of the donors and a higher recipient age (57 versus 52 years) in the O2-group. Serum levels of TNF alpha were significantly reduced after oxygen persufflation (p
< 0.05). Median peak-AST values did not differ between the groups (O2: 580 U/l, control: 699 U/l). Five year graft- and patient survival was similar. Subgroup analysis demonstrated a positive effect of oxygen persufflation concerning the development of early allograft dysfunction (EAD), in donors with a history of cardiopulmonary resuscitation and elevated ALT values, and concerning older or macrosteatotic livers. This study favors pre-implantation O2-persufflation in concrete subcategories of less than optimal liver grafts, for which oxygen persufflation can be considered a safe, cheap and easy applicable reconditioning method.
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