More than 4,000 individuals in the United States are currently awaiting a heart transplant, according to Donate Life America. However, the number of available hearts is limited. In an effort to save more lives and expand the pool of potential donors, doctors have introduced a new system known as the Organ Care System. Unlike traditional heart transplants, which involve transplanting a heart that is still beating from a brain-dead donor, this new system halts the heart’s activity before reviving it.
Dr. Lisa LeMond, a cardiovascular medicine expert at the Mayo Clinic, explains that the Organ Care System utilizes a special machine that supplies blood to the donor heart and controls its temperature, allowing it to start beating again. By preserving the heart for up to 12 hours, this innovation enables patients in remote locations to receive a transplant. Although there is still a shortage of available hearts to meet the needs of all potential recipients, this new system brings hope of significantly narrowing the gap and saving more lives in the process.