The BBC News is reporting UK’s first beating heart transplant, performed on a 58-year-old man at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge. The procedure was made possible with the help of TransMedics Organ Care System, a warm blood perfusion technology device. We covered this system back in March.
The company explains its exciting technology:
The product contains novel technologies that simulate the conditions of the human body and allow the organ to function as it normally does. The system integrates a compact wireless monitor, an organ specific perfusion module, and proprietary solutions for organ maintenance.
Donor blood is used, and the system provides for blood oxygenation and flow from an internal gas supply and pulsatile pumping system. TransMedics’ proprietary solution is infused to replenish depleted nutrients and other necessary substrates in the blood. The system warms the organ as necessary, maintains humidity, and protects the organ from contamination. The system enables full functional, biochemical and metabolic assessment of the organ. In addition, the system may enable the utilization of organs that are currently wasted due to the limitation of the existing preservation method, by allowing the transplant surgeon the time to potentially resuscitate the organ ex vivo to build up its energy stores, optimize its function and perform full viability assessment prior to transplantation. The Organ Care System is designed to both improve the outcomes of current transplant procedures and to increase the number of organs available for transplantation.
The Organ Care System is comprised of three components, operating together as an integrated technology:
Portable Platform with Wireless Monitor
The portable platform houses all elements of the system, including oxygen supply and a pump that is used to maintain pulsatile flow of warm, nutrient-rich blood to the organ. Operator exchangeable batteries provide full system power during transport. A wireless monitor controls and displays the system functions. The monitor also provides important information to allow assessment of the organ by the physician. In the case of the heart, parameters such as aortic pressure, coronary flow, blood temperature, and heart rate are monitored.
At the core of the Organ Care System is the Perfusion Module, a transparent, sterile chamber designed to protect the organ and maintain the appropriate, warm temperature and humidity. In the case of heart transplant surgery, the organ is placed in the module and revived to a beating state. The perfusion module is designed to enable sterile ultrasound assessment of the organ as well as blood sampling for off-line analysis.
Organs that are maintained in a functioning state outside the body continue to utilize nutrients as they would in vivo. The TransMedics Solution set is designed specifically to deliver the nutrients and substrates required to keep the transplant organ healthy during transport