New Heart Transplant Method Increases Donor Heart Supply

New Heart Transplant Method Increases Donor Heart Supply

The availability of donated hearts for individuals in need of life-saving surgery may be significantly increased thanks to a new technique for heart transplants.

The advancement, which is probable to become the new standard of treatment, was significantly aided by Duke’s heart center.

The accepted practice for heart transplantation has been to wait until the donor becomes brain dead.

That being said, research conducted by doctors from Duke Health and published in the New England Journal of Medicine emphasizes a more recent strategy termed DCD.

Dr. Jacob Schroder, a Duke heart surgeon, said that “The difference with DCD or ‘donation after circulatory death’ is that those patients are not legally brain dead. Most of them have had a significant neurological injury such that they are not going to recover.”

According to Schroder, Duke used the technique first in the United States in Late november 2019.

He thinks it may increase the number of heart transplants accessible to people in need by over 30 percent.

“I think it’s the biggest thing to happen in heart transplants since we started doing heart transplants in the 1960s,” Schroder also mentioned.

The study’s findings demonstrated that the DCD method and hearts obtained under the current standard of care are almost identical.

The expert mentioned that the current standard has been passing, stating that “We consider this standard of care for all of our patients and everyone is offered a DCD heart transplant. One of the things we need to do is stop thinking about heart transplants as being being purely donor limited. Now, we have more donors and more good donors and that we need to start thinking more about listing more people and opening this life saving therapy to more and more people who have end stage heart failure.”

The number of DCD Heart Transplants performed at Duke, one of around 20 transplant facilities nationwide, may exceed 4,000 this year, according to Schroder.


Katherine is just getting her start as a journalist. She attended a technical school while still in high school where she learned a variety of skills, from photography to nutrition. Her enthusiasm for both natural and human sciences is real so she particularly enjoys covering topics on medicine and the environment.

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