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Liver storage device ‘saves 200 lives a year’

A ‘GAME-CHANGING’ invention that keeps human livers ‘alive’ outside the body could save 200 more lives a year, say transplant surgeons.

The OrganOx has already come to the rescue of hundreds of patients facing death while waiting for a donor.

Created by British professors Peter Friend and Constantin Coussios, the machine doubles the ‘shelf life’ of a donor liver and reduces the risk of tissue damage. Trials have led to 250 lives being saved so far with a similar number worldwide.

One surgeon said: ‘We are looking at a game changer in organ storage and transplantation.’

Traditionally, donor livers are stored in an ice box but can only survive a maximum of 12 hours.

The OrganOx maintains livers at normal body temperature and delivers oxygenated blood, medications and nutrients, keeping them in good condition for 24 hours.

David Nasralla, a transplant surgeon at London’s Royal Free Hospital, said: ‘It’s an exciting technology that has already enabled us to transplant many livers that would not have been used.’

OrganOx was approved in January by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) for NHS use and is in use at six transplant centres — two in London and in Cambridge, Newcastle, Birmingham, and Edinburgh.