Machine Keeps The Heart Beating During Organ Transfers

Heart transfers are a sloppy thing, with the shortage of heart donors lots of things must be accounted for. The patient must be kept alive while the damaged heart is removed while they wait for the new – and hopefully healthy – heart arrives. So you either improve the transportation time or preservation method, here we have improve the preservation method, by keeping the heart beating during the transfer.

 Hearts are not very common, so they are often flown from location to location and sometimes cover vast distances. Covering these spaces takes time and conventional methods involve cooling the

organ to help to preserve them. But they cannot simply freeze the organ like they do in sci-fi movies because that will cause significant damage. Instead they can only cool them, but this method is not without its pitfalls; this transfer method can and will still lead to organ deterioration and/or damage, may it be significant or not damage is still being done to the organ. The more time it takes to move the heart, or organ, the more damage is done which decreases the effectiveness of the surgery and could lead to unseen issues. However a new technology descends from the light, a new system to extend the preservation time of organs while also decreasing the damages done. Not to mention how cool it is too.

What is this new and super cool idea you may be asking now? Instead of cooling the heart, you keep it pumping, in a box while you move it. This is no ruse either, a company situated in Andover, Massachusetts has done just this. TransMedics is a medical device company founded in 1998 to supply innovative products to the public, and here they present the OCS (organ care system) Heart Trial Proceed II. This is a device that will connect and house a human heart while it is moved about the globe.

It features a transparent housing compartment that keeps the heart warm while also providing the proper nutrients to keep it alive and well. A wireless monitor is connect atop the platform to display important information of all the systems of the machine including the oxygenator, the oxygen supply, a pump and a solution supply to allow the heart to pump healthy oxygenated and nutrient rich blood to and fro from the heart.

Perhaps coolest of them all is the ‘future-shock’ I received when I first read about this invention, it was surely a “the future is here” moment. Now that I know – thanks Tuesday’s visit – that when something like this is built, biomedical engineers will have a better hands on opportunity to work on designing the machine. Along with a great team of engineers & doctors, BME’s can play their part in creating this awe inspiring medical product.


Sources Cited
"Corporate Information: TransMedics, Inc." Corporate Information: TransMedics, Inc. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. <>.
"10 Booming Jobs and How to Get Them." CNNMoney. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. <>.
Albin, Amy. "For News Media." 'Beating Heart' Technology Could Revolutionize Field of Heart Transplantation / UCLA Newsroom. N.p., 6 Dec. 2010. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. <>.
"Enabling the Functional Assessment of Organs for the First Time outside of the Body." How It Works: TransMedics, Inc. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. <>.



Article Written By GDop26

RIT student

Last updated on 22-07-2016 160 0

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