Heartwarming Story: Developing a Better Way to Preserve Organs

August 15, 2016

(Newsweek) – Storing an organ on ice causes injury to it over time. “The longer an organ spends in that environment, the worse it becomes,” Hassanein says. The OCS—used thus far for heart, lungs and liver—flips cold, static storage on its head. Instead of chilling an organ and racing against the clock as it begins to decay, the system keeps it warm (roughly at body temperature), perfused with oxygenated blood and functioning as it would inside the body. In other words, a heart beats, lungs expand and contract with air, and a liver creates bile en route to transplant. Theoretically, there is no limit to how long an organ could spend in the OCS.