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I’m Beating in a Box, In a Plastic Box

August 30th, 2011 - 2:30 pm

A human heart, alive in a box.

The details:

Up until this point, live organs have been transported from donors to patients in coolers, buried in ice to keep them “fresh.” This only works for about six hours, which is why private jets, helicopters, and ambulances are used to speed these irreplaceable and lifesaving items around the country as quickly as possible.

Now, if I where a disembodied heart, I’d find an icy cooler a distinctly uncomfortable way to travel. A company called TransMedics agrees, which is why it’s constructed this self-contained Organ Care System, or OCS. You can stick a heart into this fancy device, hook it up to a supply of donated blood, and start it beating again, and it’ll happily sit there, warm and toasty and productive and supplied with all the oxygen and nutrients it could want. The housing is even clear plastic so that the heart can see out and enjoy the trip, which is probably a fairly unique experience for an otherwise internal organ.

There’s video at the link, where you can see a live, human heart beating in a box. It doesn’t take a great imagination to see the places this technology can lead.

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