430 words • 2~3 min read

Fun Science Friday – My Heart Will Go On

Valentine’s Day is generally filled with love, flowers, and lots and lots of anatomically incorrect hearts.  See —> <3  This week on FSF we revel in the spirit of VDay and bring you hearts, but the appropriately shaped kind.

For years, in order to transplant a heart or a lung, there is a narrow window between the death of the donor and the surgical input of the recipient. How narrow, about 5 to 10 hours! Yes, basically doctors have 5 -10 hours to surgically remove the heart from a donor, transport it to the recipient, and surgically implant it. Crazy! The Doctors are battling the period of time it takes for a heart or lung to stop beating once senescence of a person’s body is achieved.

Well a team of Doctors and Engineers at TransMedics is trying to change that. They have created a device, known as the Organ Care System, that circulates blood through the lungs and pumps oxygen through the lobes. So the heart/lungs can breathe outside the body. Once perfected this innovative techniques stands to change organ transplant forever. Nobel prize anyone?

The Organ Care System pumps blood and nutrients through a human heart before transplant surgery. Credit: Josh Kurz

The Organ Care System pumps blood and nutrients through a human heart before transplant surgery. Click image to see the heart beating!!
Credit: Josh Kurz

Essentially this team has created a real-life ‘heart in a box’, and we bring you this story just in time for V-Day. Imagine the love and joy from receiving a true ‘heart in a box’.

 

Happy Heart Day People!

 

To learn more about this story and to see some really cool GIFs of these beating hearts, go here: http://vimeo.com/51888389

Big ups to Andrew Thaler for bringing this story to my attention, and Jenna Spackeen for the cheesy title.