New research on the efficacy of transporting donated livers published in the journal Liver Transplantation has revealed that broader sharing of donor organs across U.S. regions does not significantly increase cold ischemia time (CIT) or the amount of time tissues risk being outside of the body before a transplant is completed, according to a statement by Wiley, which publishes the journal.

The study used detailed data models to show that transporting donated organs by flying works just as well as driving when it comes to organ quality outcomes.

Under current organ allocation policies in the United States, livers are offered at the regional level first to candidates who are considered most at risk of death (status 1) and/or those with a Model of End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score of 35 or more; livers are then offered to candidates on organ wait-lists.

These policies, which are meant to help cut back on CIT times, are thought to contribute to geographic inequity for liver transplants, as well as ongoing organ shortages in several areas across the country. The study could help push medical systems to share their donated organs more broadly with the patients who need them the most, regardless of their location.

Liver Transplantation is a journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) and the International Liver Transplantation Society.