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Transplanting a dead heart is now possible! [Coffee-byte]

by Editor CTS
Heart Transplant
Heart Transplant
Image source: www.thehealthsite.com 

In a ground breaking discovery in organ transplantation, doctors in Australia have been successful in transplanting a heart that had stopped beating for about 20 minutes. Usually, hearts are received from donors who have been declared brain dead but whose hearts are still beating. In this case, the heart had stopped beating but was then revived and then transplanted into a patient suffering from congenital heart failure. This transplantation was conducted at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney with the help of an innovative new device called OCS Heart.

The biggest constraint for heart transplants is that beating hearts can be kept on ice for only up to 4 hours within which they need to be transported and transplanted. This constraint majorly reduces the radius within which a heart can be transplanted to a needy donor. In addition to this, there is also a risk that cold conditions used during transportation may alter the activity of the heart which can be detected only after the heart has been transplanted.

The OCS Heart,on the other hand, maintains the heart is a warm environment where it continues to beat and is constantly monitored for its activity. Developed by TransMedics, OCS Heart provides an opportunity to store the Heart in working conditions for longer time duration, which will not only allow for it to be transported to larger distances but also give surgeons an opportunity to assess the organ before being transplanted. You can see the working of the instrument in the video below. 

The OCS stands for Organ Care System, which basically means that similar technology can be adopted for transporting other organs such as lungs and liver. TransMedics is also conducting clinical trials for these organs and is hopeful of commercially making this technology available soon.

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