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Human heart kept alive on portable organ preservation system for first time ever at UPMC.

For the first time ever a human heart has been kept beating on its own outside a body by being connected to a machine. On October 6 physicians at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) connected the heart from an 80-year old man to the Portable Organ Preservation System (POPS) developed by TransMedics, Inc., of Woburn, MA.

The heart, which could not have been used for transplantation, was connected for 24 hours. The preservation system maintained the human heart in its normal functioning physiologic state, with continuous blood flow.

Pittsburgh surgeons say that if the system passes the trials it has the potential to expand the pool of available hearts for transplantation by increasing the organ's shelf life from the current 6 hours to an indefinite period of time.

"Current technology provides only a small window of opportunity to transport and transplant an organ, thereby greatly limiting the availability of organs to those in need," said Robert Kormos, MD, director of the thoracic transplantation and artificial organ program at UPMC. "A longer preservation time would allow us to share organs across greater distances, and more patients would benefit from life-saving transplants. POPS not only would allow for better preservation but it may result in a better graft function."

Pittsburgh surgeons noted that portable preservation of the heart and other organs may enable organs to be transplanted that are currently considered suitable for transplantation such as those from older donors or with questionable function.

"Perfusion with POPS may result in improved organ function thus 'resuscitating previously unusable organs," said Kenneth McCurry, director of Lung and Heart-Lung Transplantation at UPMC. "Additionally, it might allow us to use the hearts and lungs from nonheart-beating donors. We'd essentially be able to resuscitate these organs, then transplant them."

TransMedics has conducted extensive testing of the machine in animals. In mid-September the company performed its first human trial at the University of Chicago Hospitals in Illinois with a kidney that made urine and functioned normally for nearly 24 hours before being disconnected from the device. (Transplant News, September 18, 2001)

POPS is currently in research trials at several sits in the US and UK. TransMedics says it is currently conducting kidney studies for submission and review by the US Food and Drug Administration later this year.
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Title Annotation:University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, TransMedics Inc. device
Comment:Human heart kept alive on portable organ preservation system for first time ever at UPMC.(University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, TransMedics Inc. device)
Publication:Transplant News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 15, 2001
Words:381
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