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‘Beating Heart’ Technology Could Revolutionize Field Of Heart Transplantation

Posted Dec 06 2010 5:46pm

The heart transplantation team at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center is currently leading a national, multicenter phase 2 clinical study of an experimental organ-preservation system that allows donor hearts to continue functioning in a near-physiologic state outside the body during transport.

The Organ Care System (OCS), developed by medical device company TransMedics, works this way: After a heart is removed from a donor’s body, it is placed in a high-tech OCS box and is immediately revived to a beating state, perfused with oxygen and nutrient-rich blood, and maintained at an appropriate temperature. The device also features monitors that display how the heart is functioning during transport.

The current standard of transporting donor hearts in iceboxes in a non-functioning state, which has been used for decades, requires the restarting of the heart once it has been placed inside the recipient.

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