New technique to preserve donated organs


Researchers say a discovery could increase the availability of organs and tissues for transplants.

Right now, experts say more than 60 percent of the hearts and lungs donated every year have to be discarded because they cannot survive outside of the body any longer than four hours.

So this discovery could mean donated tissue and organs could have a longer shelf life.

Currently, only about 40 percent of donated hearts and lungs make it into a recipient patient. With this technique, doctors believe it would ensure that no organs are wasted, possibly eliminating the need for transplant waiting lists.

In a lab at the University of Minnesota's mechanical engineering building, Professor John Bischof and his team show us their newly discovered preservation technique on a piece of a pig's heart valve.

It's a discovery that Dr. Erik Finger, a transplant surgeon says could make more organs available, because they could be preserved longer, which would help more patients. Continue reading