Heart preservation for transplantation
A Donor Heart Perfusion System which will improve the preservation of donor hearts for transplantation is being investigated by Prof David McGiffin.
About this research
Donor heart perfusion (the method of storing and transporting donor hearts) for the last 50 years of cardiac transplantation is by cold static storage (i.e. stopping the heart and keeping it cold in ice slush and transporting it in a cooler). However, the ischaemic time (that is the time of removing the donor heart and restoring blood supply in the recipient) is limited to 4-6 hours in a Country the size of Australia and there are donor hearts that are not used because the ischaemic time is unacceptably long.
A consortium of researchers including Professor David McGiffin from The Alfred, St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney and the Critical Care Research Group, Brisbane (led by Professor John Fraser) are researching a perfusion system developed in Sweden that allows ischaemic times of 9-10 hours. This project is being funded by the NHMRC.
Based on this work, and clinical and safety trials in Sweden, a clinical trial of ischaemic times of 6-8 hours for clinical heart transplantation is in the planning stages and will involve the six heart transplant programs in Australia and New Zealand.
Additionally, Professor David McGiffin (CIB) and Professor John Fraser (CIA) have secured an NHMRC grant of $2.5 million for the Centre for Research Excellence in Advanced Cardiorespiratory Therapies Improving OrgaN Support (ACTIONS).