Hypothermia or Machine Perfusion in Kidney Donors

Darren Malinoski, Christina Saunders, Sharon Swain, Tahnee Groat, Patrick R. Wood, Jeffrey Reese, Rachel Nelson, Jennifer Prinz, Kate Kishish, Craig Van De Walker, P. J. Geraghty, Kristine Broglio, Claus U. Niemann

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Background: Therapeutic hypothermia in brain-dead organ donors has been shown to reduce delayed graft function in kidney recipients after transplantation. Data are needed on the effect of hypothermia as compared with machine perfusion on outcomes after kidney transplantation. Methods: At six organ-procurement facilities in the United States, we randomly assigned brain-dead kidney donors to undergo therapeutic hypothermia (hypothermia group), ex situ kidney hypothermic machine perfusion (machine-perfusion group), or both (combination-therapy group). The primary outcome was delayed graft function in the kidney transplant recipients (defined as the initiation of dialysis during the first 7 days after transplantation). We also evaluated whether hypothermia alone was noninferior to machine perfusion alone and whether the combination of both methods was superior to each of the individual therapies. Secondary outcomes included graft survival at 1 year after transplantation. Results: From 725 enrolled donors, 1349 kidneys were transplanted: 359 kidneys in the hypothermia group, 511 in the machine-perfusion group, and 479 in the combined-therapy group. Delayed graft function occurred in 109 patients (30%) in the hypothermia group, in 99 patients (19%) in the machine-perfusion group, and in 103 patients (22%) in the combination-therapy group. Adjusted risk ratios for delayed graft function were 1.72 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.35 to 2.17) for hypothermia as compared with machine perfusion, 1.57 (95% CI, 1.26 to 1.96) for hypothermia as compared with combination therapy, and 1.09 (95% CI, 0.85 to 1.40) for combination therapy as compared with machine perfusion. At 1 year, the frequency of graft survival was similar in the three groups. A total of 10 adverse events were reported, including cardiovascular instability in 9 donors and organ loss in 1 donor owing to perfusion malfunction. Conclusions: Among brain-dead organ donors, therapeutic hypothermia was inferior to machine perfusion of the kidney in reducing delayed graft function after transplantation. The combination of hypothermia and machine perfusion did not provide additional protection.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)418-426
    Number of pages9
    JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - 2023


    • Drugs, Devices, and the FDA
    • Health Policy
    • Kidney Transplantation
    • Nephrology
    • Surgery
    • Transplantation

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Medicine(all)


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