By Seppa, Nathan
Science News , Vol. 176, No. 8
Giving dopamine infusions to brain-dead organ donors while they still have a heartbeat seems to fortify their kidneys against the rigors of transplant, a new study shows. Patients receiving a kidney from such donors are less likely to require multiple sessions of blood-cleansing dialysis immediately after the operation, researchers report in the Sept. 9 Journal of the American Medical Association.
Treating a donor with dopamine also seems to prevent some of the damage to kidneys that happens while the organs wait to be transplanted, the team finds.
Although dopamine is best known as a neurotransmitter, the chemical has been used in intensive care units to stabilize blood pressure in patients, says study coauthor Benito Yard of the University Clinic Mannheim in Germany. Dopamine can also quell inflammation and preserve blood vessels, which might benefit a kidney headed for transplant.
In the new study, more than 100 brain-dead organ donors received dopamine infusions while another group of donors did not. …