Medical team bringing hearts back to life in ground-breaking research

Heart trasnsplant

CEO of The Prince Charles Hospital Foundation Michael Hornby, transplant patient Kate Phillips Prof TPCH Critical Care Research Group lead Professor John Fraser and Alfred Hospital, Victoria researcher Dr David McGiffin.

A ground-breaking medical research project based at The Prince Charles Hospital (TPCH ) hopes to increase the number of hearts available for transplant by up to 40 per cent by bringing them back to life.

A team of researchers, surgeons, engineers and nurses will begin trials on new technology to make more donor hearts available and also reboot hearts previously considered dead.

Professor John Fraser from TPCH’s Critical Care Research Group said that in 2015, 381 deceased hearts were available for organ transplantation, but only 81 heart transplants were performed because of the viability of the donor hearts.

“Currently, donor hearts are stored and transported on ice, but they do not receive a constant oxygen supply but that’s about to change,” Professor Fraser said.

“ We have been donated an experimental machine from Vivoline (Sweden) that supplies the donor heart with oxygen during storage and transport, while keeping it cold and reducing the amount of work it needs to perform – all of which contributes to reducing donor heart injury.

“In a country as vast as Australia, time is of the essence.  Using these innovative techniques hearts can be retrieved from vast distances.

“This allows not only more patients to benefit from the generosity of donor’s families and receive transplants but for those transplanted hearts to perform better allowing our patients to live happier and healthier lives”.

“Once we understand the complete potential we will have more hearts available for transplant and hopefully a reduction in deaths in recipients waiting for heart transplants”.

TPCH teams will work with Professor David McGiffin’s team from the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne and Professor Peter McDonald’s team from St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney.

The research is supported by the Common Good initiative through The Prince Charles Hospital Foundation, which is focused on tackling the chronic diseases that will affect four out of five Australians.

Back to top