Aberdeen man is first to benefit from 'Heart in a Box'

KING 5 | Jean Enersen & Pat Duggan

The University of Washington introduces us to the first patient in the country to benefit from a new clinical trial that could potentially revolutionize heart transplants and make many more donor organ available.

Ted Daniels of Aberdeen became the first patient in a new U.S. clinical trial to get a donor heart that arrived in a box, still warm, still beating.

Organs are traditionally transported in a small picnic cooler.

On ice, a heart can last only four to six hours, which poses some challenges.

"Especially in the Northwest where we're geographically isolated," said UW cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Jason Smith. "We often have to start the recipient operation the heart arrives, so we limited that time the heart is out of the body because we're already pushing that time limit on every transplant we do."

The new TransMedics technology could potentially double that window. Continue reading