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Improving donor heart preservation - pushing the limits to increase hearts destined for transplant

Dr Yashutosh Joshi, Institution: University of New South Wales

2021 PhD Scholarship  

Years funded: 2022-2024  

Heart transplantation is the only definitive treatment option in patients suffering from end stage heart failure. The demand for heart transplants remains high, however, there is a supply shortage.

Since 2014, "Heart in a box" technology used at St. Vincent's Hospital has allowed researchers to revive & evaluate hearts for transplant following donation after circulatory death, increasing our transplantation numbers by ~1/3.

Previous studies show activation of blood clotting once the donor is deceased - this may damage the heart, making some unusable for transplant. This project aims to assess the impact two blood thinning agents (heparin & tirofiban) have on the donor heart. SGLT2 inhibitors (an anti-diabetes medication) and Hi1a (a drug derived from spider-venom) have also been shown in small animals to improve recovery of cardiac function in hearts destined for transplant.

The research team of Dr Joshi will evaluate these agents in a large animal model and it is hoped they will stop clots and improve the number and quality of donor hearts for transplantation.

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