How TransMedics is reviving technology for surgery technicians
New technology created by TransMedics can mimic the conditions of the human body and may help replenish the low supply of hearts for transplantation by as much as 30 percent.
Called Organ Care System (OCS) maintains organs in a warm, functioning state outside of the body rather than the traditional method of keeping organs on ice until reaching a recipient.
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As reported by our sister publication Business Review Australia, the portable machine has already been used in 15 successful heart transplants in Australia and the United Kingdom and has recently been approved for medical use in the U.S.
Earlier this year, surgeons at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New South Wales discussed three cases where they waited as little as two minutes after a person’s heart stopped before removing it. They then attached it to the OCS within 20 minutes and it began beating once again.
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“OCS, a AUD$250,000 device, essentially consists of a sterile chamber containing oxygen, blood and nutrient supply to the heart,” wrote Business Review Australia, “which keeps the heart pumping outside of the human body until it is ready for transplant.”
The “living” organ transplant increases the amount of time an organ can be maintained outside of the body, giving surgeons a chance to assess the function of the organ and allow resuscitation of the organ once removed from the deceased owner.
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“The device is vital,” said Stephen Large, a surgeon at the UK’s Papworth Hospital, which has used OCS as part of eight different transplants. “The heart gets an absolutely essential infusion of blood to restore its energy.”