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One third of deceased donor kidneys for transplantation in the UK are donated following cardiac death (DCD). Such kidneys have a high rate of delayed graft function (DGF) following transplantation. We conducted a multicenter, randomized controlled trial to determine whether kidney preservation using cold, pulsatile machine perfusion (MP) was superior to simple cold storage (CS) for DCD kidneys. One kidney from each DCD donor was randomly allocated to CS, the other to MP. A sequential trial design was used with the primary endpoint being DGF, defined as the necessity for dialysis within the first 7 days following transplant. The trial was stopped when data were available for 45 pairs of kidneys. There was no difference in the incidence of DGF between kidneys assigned to MP or CS (58% vs. 56%, respectively), in the context of an asystolic period of 15 min and median cold ischemic times of 13.9 h for MP and 14.3 h for CS kidneys. Renal function at 3 and 12 months was similar between groups, as was graft and patient survival. For kidneys from controlled DCD donors (with mean cold ischemic times around 14 h), MP offers no advantage over CS, which is cheaper and more straightforward.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Transplant

Publication Date





1991 - 1999


Acute Disease, Adult, Cryopreservation, Death, Delayed Graft Function, Female, Graft Rejection, Humans, Incidence, Kidney, Kidney Transplantation, Male, Middle Aged, Organ Preservation, Perfusion, Postoperative Period, Pulsatile Flow, Refrigeration, Tissue Donors, Treatment Outcome