Ex Vivo Perfusion

Patient with Doctor

For decades, the Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Transplant Center has been a leader in transplant innovation.

Our center is currently one of a handful in the country offering opportunities (a limited number) to participate in national research studies testing ex vivo perfusion for liver and lung transplantation.

What is ex vivo organ perfusion?

Traditionally, donated organs are placed on ice until they are transplanted into a recipient. With ex vivo perfusion, however, a machine keeps organs warm by continuously pumping blood through them. This is also called normothermic perfusion.

Ex vivo perfusion offers these advances:

  • Significant reduction of “cold ischemic time.” This means the organ spends much less time on ice without blood flow, which is better for the organ.
  • Quality assessment: While an organ is perfused in a machine, transplant experts can better assess its quality and function before it is transplanted into a patient.
  • Extended operating­­­ window of time: Ex vivo perfusion may allow organs to survive longer outside the body, making immediate transplant less urgent.

The number of organs available for transplant could grow

The lung EXPAND II trial is investigating the ability to use this novel approach to transplantation. In future phases of the trial, researchers hope to use ex vivo perfusion to rehabilitate organs that otherwise may not have been considered transplantable. If successful, this could mean an increase in the number of organs available.

To make an appointment with the Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Transplant Center, call 410-614-5700.