The new medical experience used hearts which stopped beating for 20 minutes, from the “circulatory death” patients. The heart was preserved warm in a machine known as a “heart in a box”, in a nourishing fluid. Prof Peter MacDonald, head of St Vincent’s heart transplant unit, said: “This breakthrough represents a major inroad to reducing the shortage of donor organs.” What is really important is the fact that this new transplant method could save up to 30 per cent more lives by increasing the number of available organs.”
The first patient, Michelle Gribilas, a 57-year-old Sydney woman, was suffering from congenital heart failure. A successful second operation was made to Jan Damen, 43. The operations were carried out at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, Australia, by Professor Kumud Dhital. The British Heart Foundation appreciated this as a “significant development.