'Heart-in-a-box' means more heart transplants

Artsen bezig in operatiekamer

Two years ago, the first heart transplant took place in the Netherlands via a new "heart-in-a-box" technique: by making a deceased patient's heart beat again outside the body, it could still be donated. The great shortage of donor hearts prompted this new application and the first results are very favorable:
60 DCD hearts have already been
transplanted and the waiting list is stabilizing.

In donation after circulatory arrest (DCD, Donation after Circulatory Death), the stopped heart of a deceased donor is placed in a special machine. There it starts beating again after being supplied with oxygen and blood. Previously, heart donation was only possible from a brain-dead donor whose heart was still beating. The new technique is an important step toward shortening the waiting list for donor hearts.

The technique is the result of close cooperation between UMC Groningen, UMC Utrecht and Erasmus MC.

Read more about it in this article on the UMC Utrecht website including comments from Niels van der Kaaij, heart-lung surgeon at the UMC Utrecht, and other involved researchers.