This Extraordinary Heart Transplant Technique Saves Hearts and Lives
Jacob Niall Schroder, Director of the Heart Transplantation Program at Duke University recently sent out a series of tweets detailing the benefits of warm perfusion.
Warm perfusion is a technique used in transplants that keeps the donor heart pumping while it is being preserved for surgery.
This improves the adverse effects of organ degradation that occur in the more traditional method of keeping organs in a cooling box.
Heart to argue
In a tweet written on August 3, Niall Schroder outlined a warm perfusion procedure and said it was "hard to argue" with the results:
Donor: 75 min down time, plus CPR. LVH. An immediate turn down for most US centers. Used @transmedics #OCS. Cardiac index 3.5. Extubated 6 hours post op. Hard to argue with @DukeHeartCenter @DukeCTSurgery experience with warm perfusion. pic.twitter.com/QpY8M9L65W— Jacob Niall Schroder (@JacobNiall) August 3, 2019
As Niall Schroder points out, this heart would have been rejected in most U.S. centers as it had been out of the body past a certain time threshold - 75 minutes in this case.
Technology that mirrors the human body
Transmedics' OCS is a portable device that keeps donor organs in a human-like state. The technology is used to imitate the conditions of the human body by keeping the heart pumping and at a warm temperature.
A substantial body of clinical evidence, the company says, shows that it improves results compared to the current standard of cooling organs.
Niall Schroder assured that the patient, whose case he outlined, was doing well and that he wanted his story shared to show how effective the method had been in saving his life:
Yes. The patient... aka #TEAMBIG. All with permission. He was happy to consent to help spread the word about this life saving therapy that will significantly expand the donor pool in the US!!!!— Jacob Niall Schroder (@JacobNiall) August 4, 2019
The main benefit, as Niall Schroder points out, is that this method can "significantly expand the donor pool" by decreasing the amount of rejected and unused donor hearts.