Monday, 06 July, 2020

Doctors 'reanimate' heart for first-of-its-kind transplant in US

Doctors complete first heart transplant from dead donor in the US Doctors 'reanimate' heart for first-of-its-kind transplant in US
Gustavo Carr | 04 December, 2019, 09:23

This modern approach was first carried out in 2015 by surgeons at the Royal Papworth Hospital, in Cambridge, UK.

To restart the heart outside of the body, doctors used warm perfusion, a trailblazing technique that "circulates blood, oxygen and electrolytes through the disembodied heart", according to the Post.

"To date, 100 cases of DCD heart transplantation have been performed" between six centers in Australia, the United Kingdom and Belgium, according to a research article in the Journal of Thoracic Disease, "The donor heart and organ perfusion technology", dated April 11 2019.

Duke University took the heart from a dead donor whose blood had already stopped circulating.

Once revived, the organ was immediately transplanted into a patient in need of a healthy heart, which was reportedly a success. The registered donors don't seem to increase in number as well.

Simply asking more Americans to register as organ donors isn't enough.

The whole procedure is so delicate that when the donor dies, the organs tend to become either unusable or damaged, rending the organs unusable.

Since then, the hospital, which is the nation's main center for both heart and transplants, has performed some 75 heart transplants after the donor's circulation stopped, estimates Dr Jacob Schroder, one of the heart surgeons involved in the Duke University procedure.

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And other organs may be ineligible based on their donors' medical histories, lifestyles or infections they have contracted.

Neither the donor nor the recipient of the heart has been identified but the surgery has paved the way for others in need of a heart transplant.

Duke is one of five medical centers in the USA that have been approved to carry out DCD heart transplantation as part of a new clinical trial to test the artificial circulatory device.

In recent years, the transplant community has expanded that pool most significantly by allowing the transplantation of organs from donors who tested positive for hepatitis C.

At the time, until the heart is in the human body, the heart is stored in the cold and it needs to be transplanted within a maximum of 6 hours.

Heart tissue usually begins to deteriorate even before a patient has been declared dead due to low oxygen levels produced by the slowing heart.

The method could expand the donor pool - which is now facing a shortage - "up to as much as 30 [percent]", he added, noting this could subsequently "decrease wait list time, deaths on the wait list, with excellent survival results".