Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


'Dead' heart transpalnted in surgical breakthrough

24 October 2014, 11:17

Sydney - Australian surgeons said Friday they have used hearts which had stopped beating in successful transplants, in a world first they said could change the way organs are donated.

Until now, doctors have relied on using the still-beating hearts of donors who have been declared brain dead, often placing the recovered organs on ice and rushing them to their recipients.

But Sydney's St Vincent's Hospital and the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute have developed a technique which means hearts which had been still for 20 minutes can be resuscitated and transplanted into a patient.

So far three people have received hearts in this way, with two recovering well and the third and most recent recipient still requiring intensive care.

"They are the only three in the world," surgeon Kumud Dhital, who is an associate professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, told AFP.

"We know that within a certain period of time the heart, like other organs, can be reanimated, restarted, and only now have we been able to do it in a fashion whereby a heart that has stopped somewhere can be retrieved by the transplant team, put on the machine... and then (surgeons can) transplant it."

The technique involves donor hearts being transferred to a portable machine known as a "heart in a box" in which they were placed in a preservation solution, resuscitated and kept warm.

Read also: Woman finds hairy object in her vinegar

Professor Peter MacDonald, medical director of the St Vincent's Heart Transplant Unit, said the use of hearts "donated after circulatory death" would make far more available for transplant.

"This breakthrough represents a major inroad to reducing the shortage of donor organs," he said.

Michelle Gribilas, the first patient to receive one of the three hearts, said she was very sick before her operation.

"Now I'm a different person altogether," the 57-year-old said. "I feel like I'm 40 years old. I'm very lucky."

The second recipient, Jan Damen, who had the surgery about two weeks ago, said he felt "amazing".

"I'm not religious or spiritual but it's a wild thing to get your head around," he said.

Dhital said reanimating hearts using the machine could increase safety for patients because it gave surgeons confidence that the organ was functioning.

"I would suggest that in the next five years or so we will be shifting more and more towards machine preservation of hearts," he said.

For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page!


Tags australia

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Jayne Zack
I am in ODM to stay, Busia Depu...

Busia Deputy Governor Kizito Wangalwa told Deputy President William on the face that he was in the Orange Democratic Movement to stay. Read more...

Boda Boda operators in Bahati rai...

Motorbike Boda Boda operators from Bahati Sub county on Tuesday took to the streets of Nakuru’s CBD lamenting over what they term is harassment by patrol police officers in the area. Read more...

Submitted by
Gabriel Ngallah
Human Rights activist lives in fe...

The Human rights fraternity in Mombasa is currently living in fear after the home of one of the vocal human rights champion was invaded on Monday night. Read more...

Submitted by
kel wesh
Poisonous milk powder siezed by K...

The Kenya Revenue Authority has seized two containers with illegal milk powder which had been declared as gypsum board at Mombasa port. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Be ready for protests, Raila warn...

Expect protests if meddling with Auditor General continues, Raila Odinga has said. Read more...

Submitted by
Kenya says will return to interna...

Kenya will return to international markets to borrow when it feels the time is right, National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said on Tuesday. Read more...