Ex vivo perfusion of the swine heart as a method for pre-transplant assessment

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We describe a cost-effective, reproducible circuit in a porcine, ex vivo, continuous warm-blood, bi-ventricular, working heart model that has future possibilities for pre-transplant assessment of marginal hearts donated from brain stem dead donors and hearts donated after circulatory determination of death (DCDD).In five consecutive experiments over five days, pressure volume loops were performed. During working mode, the left ventricular end systolic pressure volume relationship (LV ESPVR) was 23.1±11.1 mmHg/ml and the LV preload recruitable stroke work (PRSW) was 67.8±7.2. (Standard PVAN analysis software) (Millar Instruments, Houston, TX, USA)All five hearts were perfused for 219±64 minutes and regained normal cardiac function on the perfusion system.They displayed a significant upward and leftward shift of the end systolic pressure volume relationship, a significant increase in preload recruitable stroke work and minimal stiffness. These hearts could potentially be considered for transplantation. The circuit was effective during reperfusion and working modes whilst proving to be successful in maintaining cardiac function in excess of four hours. Using an autologous prime of approximately 20% haematocrit (Hct), electrolytes and blood gases were easy to control within this period using standard perfusion techniques.

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