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“Dead Heart” Transplants: Breakthrough in Transplants & Organ Donation

In the last several months, three “dead hearts” have been successfully transplanted into three patients at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, Australia - something that is being referred to as the "biggest heart transplant breakthrough in a decade". 

58._heart_surgeons-flickr-Adam_GPhoto: Flickr

The "game changing surgery" for organ donation poses an alternative to the currently used method of removing donor hearts from patients who are brain-dead but still have cardiovascular function using hearts that had naturally stopped beating in the donor. For the heart transplants, doctors used the “heart-in-a-box” machine to transport between donor and recipient, and warm it up prior to transplantation.

Fact: Medical staff exhaust all possible life saving efforts before testing for brain death

Articles from Mashable, USA TODAY, BBC, and others describe the procedure as one that has the potential to increase the number of lives saved by 30%.

From CNN,

“Two of the patients who received the new hearts in Sydney beamed as they spoke to reporters Friday.

Michelle Gribilas said she feels years younger. Before the surgery, she couldn't walk more than 100 meters (about 110 yards) at a time. ‘I'm a different person altogether. Like I walk 3 kilometers (almost 2 miles) a day, I go up the stairs, about 120 to 100 stairs a day,’ she said.

‘It's a wild thing to get your head around, that your heart's (come from) a stranger, someone you don't know -- part of them is now inside you," said another recipient, Jan Damen. "It's a privilege. It's an amazing thing.’”

For photos of the recipients and the article from News.com.au: World-first dead heart transplant at Sydney’s St. Vincent Hospital a game changer

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Tags: Organ Donation Information, Talking About Organ Donation, Organ Donation In the News

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