Doctors bring dead heart 'back to life' for groundbreaking transplant

Doctors bring dead heart 'back to life' for groundbreaking transplant

Doctors bring dead heart 'back to life' for groundbreaking transplant

Doctors have completed a pioneering surgery by conducting the very first heart transplant from a dead donor, the Mirror reports. A year later, Stanford University doctors performed the first such transplant in the US.

The process - called donation after circulatory death (DCD) - was performed for the first time in the USA on a military veteran, who received a heart transplant on December 1.

The first-ever human heart transplant in 1967 was technically a DCD, but the donor and the receiver were next to each other.

Although heart transplants are now relatively common, there is a constant worldwide shortage of organs, including hearts, livers, lungs and kidneys.

The transplant wait list in the United States is more than 100,000 people long, while 20 die every day waiting for new organs.

Many organs are too damaged or in poor conditions that render them unusable.

And other organs may be ineligible based on their donors' medical histories, lifestyles or infections they have contracted.

In another tweet, he estimated that this new technique could broaden the donor pool by "as much as 30%". "We still have a donor shortage, so hopefully this is a way to increase the donor pool a little bit more".

In addition to meeting health criteria, time plays a significant role in the viability of organs.

So transplant surgeons are confined to using hearts from donors who are declared brain dead, but whose other vital organs are still functioning. However, the heart tissue generally starts to deteriorate before a person has been declared dead due to the low levels of oxygen generated by the slowing heart.

The successful transplant means more people will be eligible for donation as doctors will be able to beat the clock and keep organs alive outside a body.

And they will not have to harvest exclusively from brain dead donors with still-beating hearts.

The technique involves the removal of a dead heart immediately after a donor dies, putting the heart in a safe "box" connected to several tubes and then constantly supply it with blood, oxygen and electrolytes.

"This is the first time in the U.S., which is a huge deal because transplant need and volume is so high, but a few centers around the world, including Papworth, have pioneered this effort", he was quoted to have said.

According to doctor Jacob Niall Schroder, who performed the procedure at Duke University, a further 75 DCD transplants have been performed at the Royal Papworth since the trial four years ago.

He told the Daily Mail, "This is the first time in the U.S., which is a huge deal because transplant need and volume is so high, but a few centers around the world, including Papworth, have pioneered this effort".

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