‘Heart In A Box’: Pioneering Technology That Keeps Donor Organs Alive Outside The Body
Heart transplants have now become so commonplace as to become everyday occurrences, as has transplants of other organs of the body. In all cases, though, the criterion is to keep the organ “alive” while it is taken from the donor’s body to the recipient’s. In the case of most other transplants, it is taken from a live donor, and is commonly one of those organs which are duplicated in our body, and the donor can live with one. Which implies that it is possible to have both the donor and the recipient under one roof, which simplifies the problem of keeping the organ “alive”. However, we only have one heart. It cannot be removed while the donor is still alive. And often it has to be transported a considerable distance before it reaches the recipient. Then the question of keeping the organ viable becomes of critical importance.
The standard way to do this has been to pack the organ in ice in a cool box which would travel to the place the donor is at. Unfortunately, that method has some inevitable disadvantages. As the heart was not in its natural environment it would start to deteriorate. There is a time limit of about 3 to 4 hours. The idea is to get it to the donor before the deterioration reached a level that made it unsuitable for the transplant. It also lets the doctors assess if the heart to be transplanted is suitable for the patient or not. But, again, it is difficult to assess a non-beating heart, and mistakes can happen.
Now, a revolutionary new machine has been made which keeps the heart actually alive while in transit. This machine, the Organ Care System (OCS) has been given the informal name of “heart in a box” uses what its manufacturer calls the “warm blood perfusion technology” keeps the heart warm and actually alive by creating the environment close to the inside of the human body, and by circulating oxygen rich blood from the donor through it. The system also replenishes depleted nutrients, often leaving the heart in a better condition than when it left the donor’s body. In this way the heart can be kept alive for up to 8 hours. It also easier for doctors to assess more accurately if it is suitable for transplant.
As this system keeps the organ viable for a longer time, doctors are able to bring in hearts from further away, and also accept and use organs that are considered to be “marginal” and to be too risky for the patient.
The impact of this technology is already being felt at Harefield Hospital, Middlesex, UK, who started using it in February, last year. In the past 12 months, surgeons there, have carried out 25 heart transplant using organs transported by OCS. They initially started it to reduce the number of organs that had to be declined because of the distance over which they would have to be carried. It has already prevented patients from receiving hearts which were not suitable and would have put the patient at risk. It also lets surgeons take a longer time for the procedure, which is necessary in the case of people being kept alive on an artificial heart.
A machine that keeps the heart, or any other organ, for that matter, alive, outside the body, and allows transplantation of live organs. It will now be possible for countless more people to receive body transplants that they would not have received earlier. It slows organ deterioration and allows longer transportation time, expanding geographical limits and benefits more people, dramatically increasing the number of transplants possible.Isn’t that wonderful?https://www.aartiinformatics.com/health/heart-in-a-box-pioneering-technology-that-keeps-donor-organs-alive/https://www.aartiinformatics.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Pioneering-Technology.jpghttps://www.aartiinformatics.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Pioneering-Technology-300x300.jpgHEALTHHEALTH CAREheart transplant,heart transplantation,organ donation,pioneer technologies,pioneering technologyHeart transplants have now become so commonplace as to become everyday occurrences, as has transplants of other organs of the body. In all cases, though, the criterion is to keep the organ “alive” while it is taken from the donor’s body to the recipient’s. In the case of most...MarieLe ConteMarieLe Contemarieleconte@aol.comAuthorMarie Le Conte is a professional writer with a degree in English from the University of Texas at Austin. She has a huge passion in literature magazines and her work has appeared in a variety of publications. She spend her free time in puppy play, and music.Aarti Informatics