More Transplants Possible: Study Offers Hope With New Technique

May 18, 2024
  • heart.gif
    In the United States, around 30-40% of potential donor hearts are excluded from transplant consideration due to insufficient function. This limits available donor hearts for transplantation.

    Prolonged Heart Preservation: Advancements in Organ Transportation

    A research team at the University of Michigan Health, led by Dr. Alvaro Rojas-Pena, has dedicated eight years to enhancing organ transportation methods, particularly for hearts, aiming to increase the pool of usable organs for transplants.

    Their findings show that utilizing a modified normothermic perfusion system enables heart preservation for up to 24 hours ().

    The system uses a blood-derived solution to perfuse the organs and has a hemofilter to remove toxins.

    This system allows for prolonged preservation of longer than 12 hours without creating edema or damage to the organs.

    The current standard for heart preservation between donation and transplant is up to six hours in cold static storage.

    While some hearts can still be transplanted after this six-hour mark, they have increased posttransplant morbimortality rates.

    Advancing Heart Transplantation: Normothermic Perfusion Benefits

    �We can maintain heart viability by perfusion at coronary flows and we are able to remove toxins and control edema to the tissue,� said Rojas-Pena.

    �Most importantly, our system can be used to objectively assess function of the organ prior to transplant including the ability to perform echocardiograms, compared to assessment of function in the donor.�

    This research and current data prove the concept that normothermic perfusion has the potential to increase the organ pool by considering previously discarded hearts, performing an objective assessment of heart function, increasing the donor/recipient distance and developing heart-specific perfusion therapies.

    By extending the time of organ preservation, logistics will become less of an issue and organs with borderline or questionable function can objectively be assessed and potentially considered for transplant.

    This opens the option for �organ� therapy and conditioning prior to transplant.

    1. Extending heart preservation to 24 h with normothermic perfusion - (


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