Paragonix Technologies (Braintree, Mass.) said today that its SherpaPak donor-heart transport system has been used successfully at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and other transplant centers around the U.S. and Europe.
The SheraPak combines cooling technology with safe, consistent methods for cold ischemic storage and transport of donor organs, according to the company, which is also developing and commercializing SherpaLung to transport donated lungs to recipients. Real-time reporting of preservation temperature allows for continuous monitoring of transport conditions of the donor heart. When the transport is completed, these data are downloaded to Bluetooth-enabled devices for record-keeping and sharing among the transplant team.
“The handling, packing and shipping of donor hearts is a critical part of the transplant process,” said Dr. David D’Alessandro, surgical director for heart transplantation at Massachusetts General, in a prepared statement. “We are always looking for new ways to improve the preservation and monitoring of donor hearts, with a goal of continually improving patient outcomes.”
In Europe, the device is marketed in the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Germany and Austria. Clinical-use data show it performs as intended for short- and long-distance transports, medically complex cases involving donor heart anatomical anomalies, aircraft and road transport, or utilization by large and small clinical teams, according to Paragonix.
Twenty-five transplant centers have used the SherpaPak cardiac transport system since it was launched in April, said company CEO Bill Edelman, who expects to double that number by year’s end.
“Our effective product implementation plan combined with a variety of clinical support tools tailored individually to each transplant center have resulted in sustained clinical utilization of Paragonix SherpaPak cardiac transport system,” Edelman said in the statement. “All centers that have initially evaluated Paragonix SherpaPak cardiac transport system have committed to continued testing for ongoing heart recoveries and transports of donor hearts.“
Temperature control during donor heart transport is important in preventing primary graft dysfunction, a critical complication that occurs soon after heart transplantation, according to a 2014 report by the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation. Paragonix designed the SherpaPak cardiac transport system to address this by using:
- An outer transport shipper with temperature-controlled elements;
- A sterile, nesting organ canister set that provides a double, rigid barrier in which the organ is immersed and suspended in a cold storage fluid cleared for use in storing and transporting donor organs;
- A data logger that monitors the temperature of the organ during transport;
- And a Bluetooth-connectivity to monitor, record and download preservation temperature and storage times to handheld devices.
Paragonix also makes SherpaPerfusion organ transport systems for donated lungs and kidneys.