Organ banking: mechanical engineers have the know-how

Lisa Kulick

Apr 27, 2017

Carnegie Mellon University's Yoed Rabin is the lead author of a feature article in the May 2017 issue of Mechanical Engineering Magazine, a publication of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). 

An excerpt of "Organ Banking: Mechanical engineers have the know-how to push back the boundaries of cryoperservation of human tissues," is posted here with permission from ASME: 

"Surgeons rush to make the best of a tragic situation, recovering organs from the victim of  a tragedy so they can be readied for transplantation, saving a waiting patient's life. It's an extraordinarily delicate situation, and time is the enemy. 

Some peer-reviewed articles suggest that organ transplantations could avert more than 30 percent of all U.S. deaths.

Excerpted from "Organ Banking"

At present, organs can be maintained outside of the body for hours at most and often must be matched to recipients far from the site of donation. Surgical teams and waitlisted patients are on call around the clock to receive organs flown in by jet or helicopter. Those time constraints mean that opportunities to match donated organs with the best recipients are profoundly limited. Today in the United States, some two-thirds of hearts from eligible donors go untransplanted, and 20 percent of kidneys must be discarded.

In the United States, around 30,000 organs find recipients each year—a fraction of the need. Roughly 120,000 patients are currently awaiting an organ transplantation, and the number of patients on official transplant waitlists is dwarfed by true potential of transplantation. Millions worldwide suffer from diseases for which transplantation is the gold-standard treatment. Some peer-reviewed articles suggest that organ transplantations could avert more than 30 percent of all U.S. deaths."