The medical team at Papworth Hospital (Cambridge, United Kingdom), is claiming a European first: the successful transplantation of a “stopped” heart. This technique was introduced in Australia in 2014. The team “restarted” the heart a few minutes after it had stopped beating.
This first is the result of over ten years’ work, which has developed the protocol. The medical team had a short period of time to remove the heart after the patient was pronounced dead. This indicates that the patient died in a hospital setting “under medical monitoring“. Thus, the donors are patients who have died from “controlled” heart failure following treatment withdrawal. Dr. Stephen Large, team leader, explained that “death was confirmed five minutes after the heart had stopped beating. At this point, the body was taken to theatre where it took us approximately six minutes to get the heart beating again“.
The transplant recipient is a sixty year old male from London, who had a heart attack in 2008. The hospital confirmed that he has recovered well and was discharged after spending just four days in the intensive care unit.
According to some experts, the number of available organs could increase by 25% using this technique. However, as far as Professor Olivier Bastien, Director of Organ and Tissue Collection and Transplantation at the BMA (Biomedicine Agency), “caution” should nevertheless still be exercised.