The list of Americans in need of heart transplants grows every year, as advances in transplantation fail to keep pace with the need. But the FDA has now approved a device that could help shift that balance, thanks to years of significant research and patients willing to try.
annually at M Health Fairview is the University of Minnesota Medical Center. There are on average 30 heart transplants. And on June 9 of last year, the bob half pops number was called. I had been on the transplant list for about a year and a half. I knew it would eventually become but I didn’t know when and then all of a sudden I got the call and I was a little shocked today Bob is shocked to be back on already the road as a full-time truck driver. But what he didn’t realize until after his surgery was that he had help overcoming obstacles through a device known simply as a heart in a box. I think clips of it. It’s pretty neat, it’s phenomenal. It’s really great and he is not the only one to feel this. It’s wild. It is a very exciting and fascinating technology. Dr. Andrew Shaeffer is a cardiothoracic surgeon at the University of Minnesota Medical School, who has been involved in two trials of the device. The heart is packed in the box, ready to go. The first trial covered by Kare 11 in 2017 compared it to traditional transplant conditions. It was totally revolutionary. We’re kind of limited in how long we can keep a heart in ice. So this technology, it actually pumps warm blood as you know, your body pumps normally. He says this means a donor heart can remain viable outside the body for longer, with every extra second bringing new possibilities. This allows us to travel greater distances than we normally fly. It also allows us to be in the background of things here. If we have a more complicated recipient surgery to solve, what takes a little longer? I mean for you it can be life or death for the recipient. The second trial went even further by expanding the options for first-time donors. Even those whose hearts stop before life support is removed. Get a second chance to give the ultimate gift. With this technology, we are able to quickly open the chest and place the heart on the device, restart the heart and resuscitate it. Dr Schafer says this could mean a 30% increase in the national donor pool as the device now becomes more widely available and that means even more for recipients. For me it means a lot to help a lot of other people who need it. I know they are patiently waiting. I said, well, be patient guys, you know that’s all you can do. See, Bob may be back on the road, but his heart is with everyone whose number has yet to be called. I had my second chance and I’m making the most of it.