Review article

Organ preservation: from the past to the future

Authors: Lei JING1,2, Leeann YAO2, Michael ZHAO2, Li-ping PENG1, Mingyao LIU2
1 Department of Respiratory Medicine, The First Bethune Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun 130021, China
2 Latner Thoracic Surgery Research Laboratories, Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, University Health Network; Department of Surgery and Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Corresponding to: Li-ping PENG:, Mingyao LIU:,
DOI: 10.1038/aps.2017.182
Received: 21 October 2017
Accepted: 31 December 2017
Advance online: 22 March 2018


Organ transplantation is the most effective therapy for patients with end-stage disease. Preservation solutions and techniques are crucial for donor organ quality, which is directly related to morbidity and survival after transplantation. Currently, static cold storage (SCS) is the standard method for organ preservation. However, preservation time with SCS is limited as prolonged cold storage increases the risk of early graft dysfunction that contributes to chronic complications. Furthermore, the growing demand for the use of marginal donor organs requires methods for organ assessment and repair. Machine perfusion has resurfaced and dominates current research on organ preservation. It is credited to its dynamic nature and physiological-like environment. The development of more sophisticated machine perfusion techniques and better perfusates may lead to organ repair/reconditioning. This review describes the history of organ preservation, summarizes the progresses that has been made to date, and discusses future directions for organ preservation.
Keywords: organ transplantation; organ preservation; static cold storage; machine perfusion; organ assessment; organ repair; ischemia-reperfusion injury