‘Dead’ hearts transplanted into living patients in world first,

Source: The Guardian

In a world first, Australian surgeons have successfully transplanted “dead” hearts into patients at Sydney’s St Vincent’s hospital.

The procedure, using hearts that had stopped beating, has been described as a “paradigm shift” that will herald a major increase in the pool of hearts available for transplantation. It’s predicted the breakthrough will save the lives of 30% more heart transplant patients.

Until now, transplant units have relied solely on still-beating donor hearts from braindead patients. But the team at St Vincent’s Hospital heart lung transplant unit announced on Friday they had transplanted three heart failure patients using donor hearts that had stopped beating for 20 minutes.

Two of them have recovered well, while the third, who recently undertook the procedure, is still in intensive care.

Cardiologist and unit director Peter MacDonald said the donor hearts were housed in a portable console dubbed a “heart in a box”.


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