Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Technologies for Ex-Vivo Cardiac Repair

What is needed to develop the technologies that will allow reparative interventions to be performed on excised natural hearts that have been overhauled ex vivo and replanted?


This will involve keeping the myocardium alive and sterile for extended periods that are long enough to complete the interventions while being able to also perform the necessary reparative interventions.

Tags (Keywords associated with the idea)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

The long-term impact would be to alleviate the need for permanent circulatory support devices or transplants by providing a means for hearts to be repaired while patients are temporarily supported using total artificial hearts. The immediate impact of developing the technologies to do this would be that the necessary interventions for ex-vivo cardiac repair could be developed and tested leading to a new therapy.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

A very basic foundation for this already exists. That foundation is an "Organ Care System" currently used in the UK to keep hearts functioning, not simply preserved, until the time of transplant for up to 12 hours. A timeframe of 5-10 years to extend the duration and the function of such a system for the stated purposes would seem feasible.

Repair and recovery of the heart is the currently limited to in vivo therapies. With the availability of artificial hearts and with the proper technologies available, the excised natural hearts from these patients could be overhauled ex vivo and re-implanted. Ideally, the overhaul would allow a way for various reparative interventions to be performed on the excised heart that would help to return it to a healthy functioning state before re-implantation. Such reparative interventions might include, but would not be limited to, surgical repair, adjunctive cell therapy, and stimulated exercise of the myocardium to influence reverse remodeling.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff


-15 net votes
5 up votes
20 down votes
Idea No. 297