World’s First Dead Heart Transplant at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital

World’s First Dead Heart Transplant at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital
· Sydney surgeon’s dead heart transplant a huge medical breakthrough
· Previously, transplants relied on donor hearts from brain dead patients
· Ability to revive hearts has major implications for donor shortages
· Two successful transplants performed in last two months

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A doctor holds in his hands a diseased heart which had just been removed from a patient during
a heart transplant operation at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland.(Photo: Jamie-Andrea Yanak, AP)

In a world first, surgeons at St Vincent’s Hospital have made a dead heart
beat again and successfully used it in a transplant. Described as the biggest
heart transplant breakthrough in a decade, the successful surgery has
profound implications for reducing the shortage of donor organs, the director of
St Vincent’s Hospital Heart Lung Transplant Unit, Professor Peter MacDonald, said today.

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Doctors at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney used a heart-resuscitation console and
preservation solution developed in Australia to transplant dead hearts into patients

Previously transplant units relied solely on donor hearts from brain dead
patients whose hearts were still beating. But the clinic has recently transplanted
two hearts which were donated after circulatory death (DCD) — where the heart
is no longer beating — in both cases the patients are recovering well.

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Ms Gribilas (centre) said she is a ‘different person altogether’ after receiving her transplant

The first person to have the procedure done was Michelle Gribilar. The 57-year-old
from Campsie was suffering from congenital heart failure and had surgery about
two months ago. She is recovering well, saying today she “feels like she is
40” since the transplant. Ms Gribilar said prior to the operation, she had not
been able to walk 100m without trouble. Now she walks 3km and climbs 100-120
stairs every day. “I’m a different person altogether,” she said. “I was very sick
before I had it. Now I’m a different person altogether.”

The second patient, Jan Damen, 40, from North Narrabeen also suffered from
congenital heart failure and had surgery about a fortnight ago. He is still
recovering at the hospital. “I feel amazing,” the father of three said.
“I have to say I never thought I’d feel so privileged to wear the St Vincent’s pyjamas.

“I’m just looking forward to getting back out into the real world.”

The former carpenter said he often thinks about his donor. “I do think about it,
because without the donor I might not be here,” he said. “I’m not religious or
spiritual but it’s a wild thing to get your head around.” The transplants of DCD
hearts comes as the result of combined research between the Victor Chang
Cardiac Research Institute and St Vincent’s Hospital.

The two clinics created a special preservation solution which works in conjunction

with a “heart in a box” machine, known as the ex vivo organ care system (OCS).

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Dr Dhital, Ms Gribilas, NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner, Mr Damen and
Prof Peter MacDonald at St Vincent’s Hospital on Friday

The OCS allows the donor heart to be connected to a sterile circuit which
restores the heart beat and keeps it warm, limiting the adverse affects
associated with previous methods which saw hearts kept on ice.

Cold ischaemia, where the heart is dormant without oxygen or nutrients

occurs under traditional methods where hearts are kept in an Esky on ice.
But using the preservative solution and the heart in a box, the heart is able
to be reanimated, preserved and assessed until it is ready to go into a recipient.

Cardiothoracic surgeon Assoc Prof Kumud Dhital, who performed the
transplants with hearts donated after circulatory death (DCD), said he
“kicked the air” when the first surgery was successful. It was possible thanks
to new technology, he said. “The incredible development of the preservation
solution with this technology of being able to preserve the heart, resuscitate it
and to assess the function of the heart has made this possible,” he said.

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Medical staff transporting a heart in a heart-resuscitation console developed by doctors at
St Vincent’s Hospital and researchers at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute

Professor MacDonald said the move to recover hearts which were previously
considered unsuitable for transplantation means that thousands more hearts
could become available to end-stage heart failure sufferers as the technology
becomes more readily available. “In all our years, our biggest hindrance has been
the limited availability of organ donors,” Prof MacDonald said.
Researchers are still determining how long after DCD a heart can be resuscitated,
but have revived hearts more than 30 minutes after death.

परोपकाराय फलन्ति वृक्षा: परोपकाराय वहन्ति नद्यः।

परोपकाराय दुहन्ति गावः परोपकाराय इदं शरीरम्।।


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