In this study kidneys were harvested from bred-for-research cats weighing 4 to 5 kg. General principles of donor bilateral nephrectomy en bloc with aorta, vena cava, renal vessels, and ureters were followed. After the harvest the grafts were placed in lactated Ringer slush. A cuff was prepared on the renal vein over a 10 French plastic tube. The aorta was divided and left in connection with the renal artery at each side. Twenty female checkered Flemish giant rabbits weighing 4.0-6.0 kg served as recipients. After pre-medication with 40 mg/kg of ketamine, anesthesia was maintained with repeated doses (every 10-15 min) of a 0.1-mL mixture of 5 parts ketamine and I part acepromazine diluted 50% in a normal saline. Arterial pressure, CVP, blood gases, and temperature were monitored. Through a limited midline incision a native left nephrectomy was performed. The venous anastomosis was performed with a cuff technique without clamping the vena cava (which causes severe hemodynamic instability); the anastomotic time was 2-3 min. The arterial anastomosis was performed with an end-to-side aorta-to-aorta anastomosis; the anastomotic time was 5 to 7 min. There were no episodes of venous or arterial thrombosis. The donor procedure took approximately 40 min, and the backtable preparation of the graft an additional 45 to 60 min. Preparation of the recipient for the anastomosis took 15 min and the anastomotic time (warm ischemia) was 13 ± 5 min. In this model suitable for xeno-graft research the duration of the surgery in the recipient has been greatly reduced because of(1) the previous backtable preparation of the graft, und (2) the cuff technique used for venous anastomosis. The present anesthesia regimen and careful hemodynamic monitoring were also important in the success of this model.
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