UC San Diego Health 1st on West Coast to revive non-beating heart for transplantation

Anuja Vaidya (Twitter) - Print  | 

As part of a national interventional clinical trial, University of California San Diego Health became the first hospital on the West Coast to perform a heart transplant surgery after retrieving a non-beating heart from a hospitalized donor and reviving it.

The procedure involves collecting hearts from hospitalized donors who have died because their hearts have stopped. With prior consent, surgeons remove the organ within 30 minutes and connect it to a machine that provides the heart with warm blood, reviving it. This keeps the heart viable for potential transplantation. The procedure also keeps the heart functional for longer periods than traditional cold storage, allowing it to be transported longer distances.

The procedure will increase the number of suitable organ donors and viable hearts for transplantation.

"We have people on the wait list dying while waiting for hearts, and this is because we don't have enough donors," said Eric Adler, MD, cardiologist and medical director of cardiac transplant and mechanical circulatory support at UC San Diego Health. "By utilizing the pump, we are able to use hearts that would not be considered for transplant and can assess the organ for any issues or damage to ensure we're matching the organ with the most appropriate recipient."

The clinical trial, sponsored by TransMedics, the company that created the machine providing the hearts with warm blood, involves 25 participating sites across the country.

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