Sunday, December 02, 2007

Transplant Headlines

Selected headlines

‘Opt-out’ bid on kidney donation
icWales reports that people could automatically become organ donors after their death if the first attempt to change the law on presumed consent is passed.

Baroness (Ilora) Finlay yesterday launched her Kidney Transplant Bill which aims to address the serious shortage of donated organs and reduce the length of time patients wait for a new kidney.

If it becomes law it will also shift the emphasis from the current opt-in method of organ donation towards a presumption that people wish to give after death.

The Bill will allow an authorised transplant team to remove one kidney from a dead patient for the purpose of transplantation to a live human unless the donor has previously opted out of organ donation.

The Bill deals only with kidney transplantation and does not give power to remove any other organ from a dead person.

There are currently 6,663 people waiting, for an average of three years, for a kidney transplant in the UK – more than 300 people in Wales are waiting for a kidney transplant.

In the last five years almost 1,500 people have died awaiting a kidney transplant. Read the full article.

Heart and lung transplant girl dies
From the star online in Malaysia:
KULAI: The country’s first simultaneous heart and lung transplant recipient Siti Salmah Jasni, 18, was showing signs of improvement, smiling and asking to sit up. Then, hours later, at 5.40am Tuesday, she died.

Her father, lorry driver Jasni Zainal, 52, said he could not believe she was gone.

“She was getting so much better. She could smile and respond. She even asked to be helped to sit up the night before she died,” he said, adding that she had also waved at him. Read the full story.

Forty years since first transplanted heart beats in S.Africa
From AFP:
JOHANNESBURG (AFP) — Forty years ago, in the middle of the night at a Cape Town hospital, South African surgeon Christiaan Barnard rewrote medical history when he carried out the first ever heart transplant.

The operation captivated the imagination of the world, catapulting Barnard and South Africa onto the world stage and leading to hundreds of similar operations around the globe.

Dene Friedman, who was in the theatre during the groundbreaking operation, assisting with the running of the heart-lung machine, remembers the surgery "as if it were yesterday".

"Nobody took a photograph, nobody did anything ... We didn't think of the publicity side of it," she told AFP.

Barnard had not even told the hospital that he would be attempting the operation, giving little thought to the reaction his techniques would generate.

"Professor Barnard told them in the early hours of the next morning. He just gave a phone call," remembers Friedman.

"We just thought that we were doing something worthwhile for the patient," she said of Louis Washkansky, a 53-year-old diabetic with incurable heart disease who had suffered three heart attacks.

Barnard had already practised the basic surgical technique for the transplant -- that was pioneered by other surgeons on animals -- in the laboratory. He only needed one donor to put this knowledge into practice. Read the complete story.

FDA Panel Supports Thoratec Heart Device
FDA Panel Unanimously Recommends Approval for Thoratec's Second-Generation Heart Pump

As reported by CNN Money:
NEW YORK (Associated Press) - Government advisers recommended U.S. approval for Thoratec's next-generation heart pump Friday, despite the fact that a company study of the device fell just short of its goal.

The 10 members of the Food and Drug Administration's heart device panel voted unanimously in favor of clearing the HeartMate II for heart-failure patients awaiting transplant. The device, which helps weakened heart chambers pump blood throughout the body, is a smaller version the original HeartMate model.

The panel's endorsement came on the condition Thoratec conduct a follow-up study of the device after it reaches the market to monitor internal bleeding and other safety issues. FDA does not have to follow the advice of its panels, though it often does.

Prior to the meeting, FDA released results of a 126-patient study showing the low range of HeartMate II's success rate was 64 percent, just under the 65 percent goal needed to prove effectiveness. Success was based on whether the patient survived at least 180 days with device, or long enough to receive a heart transplant. Read the full article.

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