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Challenges of Heart Transplantation

For every 10 patients transplanted with a new heart, nearly 4 died waiting and another 19 are still waiting.1

Only 3 of 10 Organ Donors' Hearts
Are Transplanted

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Challenges of Heart Transplant

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The cold storage approach is not appropriate for all hearts. In addition, it allows degradation of the organ over time.

Number of Transplants and Outcomes Have Potential for Improvement

Heart transplantation programs world-wide face a number of daunting challenges regarding the number of transplants performed, patient outcomes, and cost of patient care. 

Waiting List Exceeds Available Hearts

Heart transplantation is widely considered the only long-term cure for end-stage heart failure. Demand for heart transplantation is strong and growing -- the waiting lists represent only a small fraction of the patients who would benefit from the procedure. However, transplant programs cannot meet patient demand, leaving many to die on the waiting list.

Outcomes Can Be Improved

Those patients fortunate enough to receive a heart transplant generally experience substantial survival and quality of life benefits.  That said, the procedure is not without risks.  Despite medical advances over the past two decades, mortality and complication rates, particularly immediately after transplant and during the first year, remain significant.  

Cold Storage Method is Limiting

One of the factors contributing to these difficulties is the current method of heart preservation: cold storage.   

Number of Retrievable Hearts is Constrained

Cold storage significantly limits the number of hearts that can be retrieved for a safe transplant.  Despite the desperate need for organs, seven hearts from every ten organ donors go unutilized in part because of the inability of the cold storage approach to adequately preserve certain types of hearts or hearts that are at great distance and because this method only gives physicians limited ability to check the status of the harvested organ prior to transplantation.

Heart Quality and Function Can Deteriorate

Cold storage can allow quality & function of donated hearts to deteriorate before they are transplanted into a Recipient. 

Fortunately, another heart preservation method with the potential to overcome these challenges is available in Europe.


1,2Source: Eurotransplant, 2010 Annual Report.

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