New technique could lead to more organs being available for transplant


LONDON, ON – A team at Lawson Health Research Institute is the first in Canada to perform a transplant using a technique called abdominal normothermic regional perfusion (A-NRP), which could lead to more organs being available for transplant. The technique was used to optimize organs from two donors in April 2024 at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), resulting in the successful transplantation of two kidneys and two livers to four patients. 

“Organ donation after circulatory death (when the heart stops beating) has historically been less reliable than organ donation after brain death,” explained Dr. Anton Skaro, Associate Scientist at Lawson and Surgical Director of Liver Transplantation at LHSC. “This is because there is a higher risk of organ damage after circulatory death since oxygen and blood flow stop.” 

Dr. Skaro and his team at LHSC were the first in Canada to use A-NRP, which has the potential to protect abdominal organs after circulatory death in a donor by using a special pump to selectively restore blood flow to the organs. A-NRP could increase the likelihood of a successful transplantation, ensuring donor wishes are fulfilled and enhancing patient outcomes. 

“Unfortunately, we do not have enough donated organs to match the number of patients waiting for transplantation,” said Dr. Skaro. “By protecting the quality of organs after circulatory death, A-NRP could help significantly increase the number of available donor organs to save more lives.”  

The research team led by Dr. Skaro is currently studying the use of A-NRP to ensure it is safe for donors. The team plans to include 20 to 30 donors in the study. 

Dr. Skaro notes there is an immense amount of potential in A-NRP. Once this study has been completed, Dr. Skaro’s team hopes to expand the use of this technique to other transplant centres throughout Canada.  

“This work would not be possible without the collaborative efforts of a multidisciplinary team who have expertise in neurocritical care, perfusion, critical care, ethics, donation and transplant,” said Dr. Skaro. “It would also not be possible without the help of numerous partners, including Ontario Health (Trillium Gift of Life Network), and the generosity of the community and donors” 

The research was generously funded by The Move for Life Foundation, London Health Science Foundation, Academic Medical Organization of Southwestern Ontario (AMOSO), and the Canadian Donation and Transplantation Research Innovation Grant. 

About Lawson Health Research Institute

Lawson Health Research Institute is one of Canada’s top hospital-based research institutes, tackling the most pressing challenges in health care. As the research institute of London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s Health Care London, our innovation happens where care is delivered. Lawson research teams are at the leading-edge of science with the goal of improving health and the delivery of care for patients. Working in partnership with Western University, our researchers are encouraged to pursue their curiosity, collaborate often and share their discoveries widely. Research conducted through Lawson makes a difference in the lives of patients, families and communities around the world. To learn more, visit

About London Health Sciences Centre

London Health Sciences Centre has been at the forefront of medicine in Canada for 145 years and offers the broadest range of specialized clinical services in Ontario. Building on the traditions of its founding hospitals to provide compassionate care in an academic teaching setting, London Health Sciences Centre is home to Children’s Hospital, University Hospital, Victoria Hospital, the Kidney Care Centre, two family medical centres, and two research institutes – Children’s Health Research Institute and Lawson Health Research Institute. As a leader in medical discovery and health research, London Health Sciences Centre has a history of over 70 international and national firsts and attracts top clinicians and researchers from around the world. As a regional referral centre, London Health Sciences Centre cares for the most medically complex patients including critically injured adults and children in southwestern Ontario and beyond. The hospital’s nearly 15,000 staff, physicians, students and volunteers provide care for more than one million patient visits a year. For more information, visit