UW Medicine 1st to deploy ‘heart in a box’ in U.S. trial
The UW Medicine Regional Heart Center was first in the United States to deploy a device in the clinical trial that, if successful, would lead to more transplant-viable donor hearts in America.
Daniels, 46, a logging truck driver who lives with his family in Aberdeen, Wash., was diagnosed with congestive heart failure a decade ago.
He was transplanted Sept. 16, 2015, with a donor heart that had traveled in the Organ Care System manufactured by TransMedics of Andover, Mass. The device is known in medical shorthand as "heart in a box."
Its potential advantage – what the trial will measure – is its ability to extend the duration that a heart can safely be out of a body between a brain-dead donor and a recipient, and thereby increase the distance that donor organs can travel. The device circulates blood through the organ, prospectively giving surgeons eight to 10 hours between harvest and transplant. This is in contrast to the conventional mode of transit, on ice in a small cooler, which necessitates that transplant occur within four to six hours.
The device is also being evaluated for its potential to take an intended donor heart that does not initially function well enough to be transplanted and, given time to rid it of toxins borne out of the fatal trauma to the donor, to make the organ transplant-viable.
"It makes me happy to know that I'll probably get to see my daughters (ages 16 and 7) graduate and get married."