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Donor Livers Not Damaged By Longer Transportation Times

Update Date: Aug 29, 2014 12:38 PM EDT
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Transportation will not spoil donor livers, according to a new study.

New research reveals that travelling long distances will not affect the quality of the organs. Researchers said the latest findings could influence the number of organs delivered via air and land.

Lead researcher Dr. Sommer Gentry, of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, said he and his team wanted to conducted the study because many people are worried about the increasing distances and travel times it takes for donor livers to reach recipients. This is mainly caused by the ongoing shortage of liver donations in the United States. Experts are worried because increased time travel significantly increases the time the liver is in a cooled state outside of the body, which can lead to complications.

The latest study involved more than 1,200 livers that were removed from donors in 2010. Researchers found that the livers shared locally were kept in a cooled state outside of the body for an average of six hours and those shared regionally were kept in a cool state for an average of seven hours, according to HealthDay.

Researchers noted that locally shared livers spend about an hour in transportation, and regionally shared organs take about two hours in transit.

The study revealed that 90 percent of livers shared regionally were transported by air compared with 22 percent of livers shared locally.

"Our findings indicate that non-transport factors impact [cold ischemia time] much more than transport time," Dr. Sommer Gentry, of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., said in a journal news release.

"Broader sharing of livers will not have much effect on [cold ischemia time] or negatively impact the liver transplant recipient, but will significantly increase the number of organs transported by flying," Gentry concluded.

The findings are published in the journal Liver Transplantation.

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