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Donor heart is kept beating before transplant

In a national first, a donor heart held its beat for nearly three hours in its transport carrier before it was transplanted into a patient.

The organ was stored in an experimental device built to keep it pristine and functioning, a state that could reduce the risk of rejection and increase the chances for successful transplantation, said Dr. Kenneth McCurry, director of cardiopulmonary transplantation at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Heart, Lung and Esophageal Surgery Institute.

Unlike the conventional storage method, in which the organ is kept on ice, the device allows blood and oxygen to perfuse the heart.

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