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Autonomous system could double number of successful transplants

A breakthrough system that can keep a liver 'alive' outside of the human body prior to transplantation has been used to successfully treat two patients.

Devised by OrganOx and designed and developed by BEEAs winner Team Consulting, the self-regulating normothermic liver perfusion system is expected to double the number of organs available for transplant in the UK.

It is estimated that more than 2,000 livers are discarded annually because they are either damaged by oxygen deprivation or do not survive cold preservation due to elevated intracellular fat.

The OrganOx metra system operates by maintaining the organ in a fully functioning state during transport and storage, by providing blood flow, oxygen, carbon dioxide, nutrients and temperature control within physiological parameters.

This not only enables the liver to be stored safely for a longer period (up to 24 hours), but also provides the surgeon with real time and cumulative data with which to assess function and viability.

The device features an autonomous system with a safety critical architecture and embedded software program so that if a component or peripheral feature fails for any reason, the core system will continue to function to avoid causing damage to the liver.

"We have designed the safety critical system to be robust, reliable and simple to use," noted Stuart Kay, head of electromechanical engineering at Team Consulting.

"At the start of the project we had no reference point as this has never been attempted before. That we have been able to successfully deliver a system that is already saving lives is a testament to our design and engineering capabilities, and the dedication of the whole project team."

Laura Hopperton

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