Experimental Machine Keeps Hearts Beating


Developed by TransMedics, a new machine called an Organ Care System is able to keep a disembodied heart alive and beating. This is revolutionary for heart transplant surgeries.

Previously, hearts intended for transplants were kept on ice while being transported from the donor to the organ receiver. As a result, it wasn’t uncommon for hearts to either sustain some damage or not arrive within the necessary six hour window a heart can survive outside a body. If the heart was received outside of this time window, the patient who needed the heart would never undergo the transplant.

Now, with the Organ Care System, hearts don’t have to be kept on ice, but can continue to pump blood and stay alive for up to 12 hours outside of a body. Some researchers believe the OCS can keep a heart alive for up to 24 hours.

In an interview with Aljazerra America, Dr. Waleed Hassanein (who founded and is the current president of TransMedics) said, “We feel very comfortable and confident in the Organ Care System’s ability to at least double the heart transplant volume over the next 5 years.”

Currently the OCS is being tested to see if it can be used for other organ transplants–there’s already been some success with lungs.

Image via ScienceDump.
Via Aljazeer America, TransMedics, UCLA Newsroom and ABC News.
Video via UCLA Health and The Boston Globe.

This entry was posted in Science by spikemarlowe. Bookmark the permalink.

About spikemarlowe

Spike Marlowe and her Siamese twin sister were born to academics in Provo, Utah during the region’s speculative fiction renaissance. Since her teenage years, when Spike’s parents and sister entered the Federal Witness Protection Program--which necessitated the surgical separation of Spike from her sister (if you buy her a couple drinks and ask nicely, Spike may show you the scars)--she has held a variety of odd jobs, including a performer in a wild west show, detective, Bigfoot researcher and writer for an Internet content farm. Recently she found her calling as a Bizarro author. When she’s not writing fiction she works as a street busker in San Francisco. At night she fights crime. Her first novel, Placenta of Love, will be released by Eraserhead Press in November 2011.

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