Heart transplant list could be slashed after hope of keeping donated organ alive for 24 hours

Mail Online | 2/14/2020 | Victoria Allen Science Correspondent For The Daily Mail In Seattle
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There is hope for transplant patients, from technology which may keep a heart alive for 24 hours.

At the moment, a donated heart can usually only last around four hours as it is rushed to the person who needs it.

Fluid - Blood - Vessels - Pulses - Oxygen

But by pumping fluid through its blood vessels, and using pulses of oxygen which mimic a heartbeat, scientists have been able to keep pigs' hearts for 24 hours.

They say the technology could be available for human hearts in a year.

Breakthrough - Device - Suitcase - Lists - Transplants

The breakthrough, using a device which fits into a small suitcase, could cut waiting lists for transplants.

The latest figures show there are 328 people in the UK on the waiting list for a heart, including 39 children.

Figures - Three-quarters - Hearts - UK

Many are forced to wait until it is too late, and figures suggest around three-quarters of donated hearts cannot be used in the UK.

Dr Rafael Veraza, from the University of Texas Health at San Antonio, presented the findings on pig hearts, which still appeared to be oxygenated with viable cells after 24 hours, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Seattle.

'The - Heart - Years - Ice - Decades

He said: 'The first heart was transported more than 50 years ago by putting it on ice, and decades later it is done much the same way.

'But being able to keep a heart viable for 24 hours means you could transport it almost anywhere in the world, and this could save many lives.'

Reason - Hearts - UK - Donors - Experts

While the main reason that hearts are not taken from UK donors is because they are unsuitable, experts say the time between removing an organ and transplanting it is 'crucial'.

The average person waits almost three years - 1,085 days - for a heart transplant, with NHS Blood and Transplant reporting in 2018 that one man, 45-year-old Gareth Evans from Stockport, had been on the waiting list for nine...
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