Once upon a time, a diagnosis of heart disease would have been equivalent to a death sentence.
These days, a wide variety of medical techniques and technology exists to help patients overcome their illnesses and improve their quality of life. These tech innovations now include the ability to perform heart transplants while keeping the donor heart beating while it’s being transported.
Heart in a Box
A revolutionary new transplant technique was recently developed that allows doctors to keep a donor heart active for twice as long as they previously could. This was managed by connecting the heart to a special machine during transit. The machine creates electrical impulses to keep the heart beating. Keeping the heart active while being delivered to the recipient extended the life of the heart twice that of the typical icing method.
The Future of Surgery
The ability to keep a heart active for twice as long will increase the number of patients who are candidates for a transplant. Doctors also believe that hearts kept beating before procedures face less risk of rejection. Hearts that have stopped beating in donor bodies can also be taken and restarted with this technology, provided that doctors can retrieve the heart in time.
Technology is making variables like length of transit time and donor status less important for a successful outcome. Doctors now have more opportunities to apply their skills and save the lives of patients in need. Technology is always changing, and any improvements that allow lives to be saved and quality of life to be restored are improvements worth keeping an eye on.