This machine is an artificial body, ensuring donated livers stay alive. | University of Oxford

This machine is an artificial body, ensuring donated livers stay alive.

This machine is an artificial body

By keeping a liver fully functioning at a cosy 37 degrees Celcius, it makes sure that blood, oxygen, and everything else continues to pump into the liver. This is crucial for transplant surgeries, when organs have to travel (in style) from one hospital to another.

Usually livers are preserved on ice before they’re transplanted, and this forces surgeons to race against the clock because of the short preservation time (only 6-9 hours). This cold state also means that surgeons can’t tell if the liver will work in the body, forcing them to be so cautious they discard many suitable ones.

However this machine, from OrganOx, means that the livers are already fully functioning when they’re hooked up. This innovation gives surgeons four times longer to assess the donated liver, which means an emergency operation doesn’t need to be rushed into. Now, with twenty four hours, surgeons can work with the transplant team during the day, and this whole process increases the number of transplants available for patients.