Go To Main content
Title:TSGH Cardiovascular Surgery Department completed the first successful case in Taiwan-Marginal donor heart transplant through the "Organ Care System (OCS)".
Published day:2023/9/26

The press conference of the Cardiovascular Surgery Department, "The first organ care system (OCS) in Taiwan", was conducted on 26 September 2023 at the hospital and hosted by the Superintendent, Major General Yi-Jen Hung. Dr. Hong-Yan Ke and Chief Yi-Chang Lin of the Cardiovascular Surgery Department presented their achievements of the first successful case of accepting a marginal donor heart transplant in the hospital.

"The organ care system (OCS) supplies the required oxygen and nutrients for the donor heart during transportation, and monitors the cardiac functions of the heart graft simultaneously. During the process, the equipment simulates the human body conditions and keeps the heart under 34oC. It supplies oxygen, blood, and nutrients to the heart to revitalize the donor's heart to beat again and keep the heart in vitro conditions for more than 10 hours. In the past, it was hard to assess the activity and function of the marginal donor heart, but this is now feasible to help identify if the heart is suitable for transplantation."

Superintendent Yi-Jen Hung said that our Cardiovascular Surgery Department had successfully completed the first heart transplant in Taiwan under the assistance of the OCS on 9 September 2023. The donor had been resuscitated for more than one hour, undergoing cardiac massage and injected with cardiotonics. The donor heart was removed and transported from the hospital in South Taiwan to Taipei for transplantation. Preserving the activities and functions of grafts during transportation is a huge challenge in organ transplantation as it is a race against time.

Cardiac surgeon Dr. Hong-Yan Ke mentioned that the patient pool suffering from heart failure reaches around 360,000 every year; 6% of patients develop end-stage heart failure. Even though medical technology progresses every year, heart transplants are still the most effective treatment for end-stage heart failure.

To upgrade the achievement of heart transplants, Dr. Chien-Sung Tsai, Director of the Medical Affairs Bureau, MND, introduced the OCS system to keep the donor heart beating and stored in vitro for more than 10 hours, capable of reducing the ischemic damage to the organ due to the passing of time, and monitoring and assessing the heart function so marginal donor hearts, which previously could not be used, can be used in transplants to increase the graft sources and the survival rate of patients.

Cardiac surgeon Dr. Yu-Chang Lin indicated that the functions of DCD donor hearts are poor so the first 10 recipients on the organ waiting list cannot use them. Through the OCS system, assisted assessments, functional maintenance and transportation, the TSGH Cardiovascular Surgery Department team have successfully completed a heart transplant for the 11th recipient on the waiting list.

The TSGH Cardiovascular Surgery Department team estimates that annual heart transplant case numbers will increase, and results will be improved thanks to this new technology. However, each consumable material set of the OCS system costs around NT$3 million. Such a high cost of application needs to be included in the reimbursement system to benefit more patients waiting for heart transplants in the future.


Organ Care System


Organ Care System