Doctors successfully 'reanimate' heart from deceased donor

For the first time, doctors in the U.S. have brought back a dead donor heart to life before performing a heart transplant.


NSFW    DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA — For the first time in the U.S, doctors have successfully "reanimated" a heart from a deceased donor, prior to the heart being transplanted to an adult recipient.

This procedure is known as donation after circulatory death or DCD.

Donor hearts usually come from those who have been declared as brain dead but still have a beating heart. The beating heart is then transplanted into a recipient, CNN reports.

Jacob Schroder, one of the doctors involved in the heart transplant procedure, told CNN
that the donor heart was doused with a cold solution and removed five minutes after the person's death was announced and after heartbeat and circulation had stopped.

Physicians from Duke University Medical Center then placed the heart in the TransMedics Organ Care System. The system pumps warm blood and allows the non-beating heart to be preserved and resuscitated for a transplant.

Once the heart and the heart recipient is ready, the donor heart is then transplanted into the recipient via standard heart transplant procedure.

Schroder explained that the procedure could increase the donor pool and the number of transplants performed by 30 percent. This would decrease wait time and the number of deaths of those waiting for a transplant.

The procedure has previously been performed in medical centers in the United
Kingdom and Australia.
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