Keep That (Donated) Heart Beating

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It’s always disconcerting, in hospital shows, to see the cooler containing a human heart being unloaded from the helicopter. The cooler is the same brightly colored, insulated style we cram with ice and Miller Lite for family camping weekend. But, hey, it works. Pack that kind organ donor’s heart on ice and head for the hospital to save a life.

It’s disconcerting in a wholly different way to see the new organ-transfer method, profiled by The Inquisitr (Aug 30, 2011) and devised by a company called TransMedics–a method that keeps the heart beating. Yes. A live beating heart in a box. Check out the video below.

Right now, matching donor organs with recipients is a game of speed and geography. The short lifespan of an organ on ice is “the biggest problem facing heart transplants,” explains The Inquisitr. The beating-heart transfer method will allow the harvested organ to travel long distances, still warm, in a “near-normal physiologic state,” says transplant surgeon Abbas Ardehali.

The beating-in-a-box method is currently under clinical trial for FDA approval at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. “I feel like I am in the first Apollo mission to the moon,” says UCLA heart transplant medical director Ann Hickey. “This is really the start of something that’s going to be an incredible revolution.”

Source: The Inquisitr

Image by MT Silverstar, licensed under Creative Commons.

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