Dead donor heart brought back to life by US Surgeons for Life Saving Transplant

December 13th, 2019

Heart transplants are not something new but this one is a first in the US

Donation After Circulatory Death (DCD)

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Youtube screenshot Source: Youtube screenshot

The normal procedure for a heart transplant takes place when the donor has been declared brain dead. In this instance, the heart becomes available for a transplant after circulatory death and the donor is pronounced dead.

DCD For Other Organs

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Pixabay Source: Pixabay

This type of transplantation has been done when other organs are going to be donated. This is the first time it has ever been done when the heart is going to be the transplanted organ. It was carried out by the transplant team at Duke University. It is the first type of transplant of this type in the US for an adult heart.

The Trial Stages

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Youtube Screenshot Source: Youtube Screenshot

There are only five centers in the US that are approved for DCD transplants. It requires the use of a special device that is able to circulate blood that is warm and oxygenated through the organs.

Other Countries

Although this is a first for the US doctors the DCD heart transplant has been done in other countries such as Europe and Australia dating back to 2014. It has not as yet received FDA approval in the US for full use.

The TransMedics Organ Care System

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Youtube screenshot Source: Youtube screenshot

This is the device that is used to help preserve the organs including the heart for transplant. It is able to achieve this for several hours following the death of the donor.

This is the device that is used to help preserve the organs including the heart for transplant. It is able to achieve this for several hours following the death of the donor.

What Does It Mean?

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Youtube screenshot Source: Youtube screenshot

Dr. Jacob Schroder performed this first of its kind surgery in the US. According to him:

“This procedure has the potential to expand the donor pool by up to 30%,” said Dr. Jacob Schroder, who performed the procedure at Duke over the weekend and is surgical director of Duke’s Heart Transplant Program in the Department of Surgery. “Increasing the number of donated hearts would decrease the wait time and the number of deaths that occur while people are waiting.” Goodnewsnetwork

The Recipient

In this first for the medical team at Duke, the recipient was a Military Veteran. Reports have it that he is doing well.

Potential Risks

As with any type of medical procedure, there are risks involved.

According to Dr. Ashish Shah:

“The major concern is that there is a period of time when the heart has no blood or oxygen getting to it prior to infusing it with the preservation solution and ice,” said Dr. Ashish Shah, the chair of cardiac surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, who was not involved in the US transplant. “This period can vary considerably and may injure the heart permanently. That injury may not be seen until later, but it’s the one worry about using these organs.” As reported at Cnn health.

Survival Rate

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Pixabay Source: Pixabay

With a standard heart transplant, the average survival rate is 13 years. It is to early to estimate what this will be for the DCD heart transplant. Sources are indicating that this particular heart may be better than a standard heart. This is based on recipient matching.

Anything that has the possibility of expanding the donor pool for hearts is going to be received with a great deal of enthusiasm and excitement.

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Pixabay Source: Pixabay

Give The Gift Of Life

This amazing story should act as a reminder that we all have the opportunity to give the gift of life through organ donation.

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