Scientists developed a new method to keep human hearts alive in a box outside the body for at least a day, an advance that may bring an end to people dying on the heart transplant waiting list.
Researchers developed a new storage method in which a mini-heart-lung machine supplies the donor heart with vital substances in an oxygenated solution during transportation. The preservation time of the donated heart is then extended from today’s approximately for hours to at least 12 hours, researchers said.
“This means, in principle, that we can perform transplant involving hearts from all over Europe,” said Johan Nilsson from Lund University, who together with a team of three surgeons, performed the operation. "This new method gives increased opportunities for exchanges with countries far away, such as between Europe and eastern United States, and it also makes it possible to use older donors," Nilsson said.