Objectives: The aim of this study was to demonstrate safe orthotopic transplantation of porcine donor hearts harvested 24 hours after brain death and preserved for 24 hours before transplantation.
Design: Circulatory normalization of brain dead (decapitated) pigs was obtained using a new pharmacological regimen (n = 10). The donor hearts were perfused at 8 °C in cycles of 15 min perfusion followed by 60 min without perfusion. The perfusate consisted of an albumin-containing hyperoncotic cardioplegic nutrition solution with hormones and erythrocytes. Orthotopic transplantation was done in 10 recipient pigs after 24 hours' preservation. Transplanted pigs were monitored for 24 hours, then an adrenaline stress test was done.
Results: All transplanted pigs were stable throughout the 24-hour observation period with mean aortic pressure around 80 mmHg and normal urine production. Mean right and left atrial pressures were in the range of 3-6 and 5-10 mmHg, respectively. Blood gases at 24 hours did not differ from baseline values. The adrenaline test showed a dose dependent response, with aortic pressure increasing from 98/70 to 220/150 mmHg and heart rate from 110 to 185 beats/min.
Conclusion: Orthotopic transplantation of porcine hearts harvested 24 hours after brain death and preserved for 24 hours can be done safely.
Keywords: Heart preservation; heart transplantation; organ donor management.