US News Canada. Lungs transported by drone before being grafted
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To escape the traffic jams in downtown Toronto, a surgeon was delivered lungs ... by drone. In nine minutes, the organs flew from one hospital to another before being grafted.
A Canadianrealized at the end of September "What had never happened" : a lung carried a few minutes ago thanks to a drone between two hospitals of downtown Toronto.
Less than 10 minutes of flight
"We have proved, and it's a very important point, it's possible to do it safely" , welcomed Dr. Shaf Keshavjee, who collaborated with a team technique for two years to realize this flight.
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In the middle of the night, the drone traveled 1.2 kilometers in a little less than ten minutes in the sky of the Canadian metropolis, taking off from the Toronto Western Hospital and landing on the roof of the General Hospital.
The lungs were then transplanted, successfully, in a patient of about sixty years of pulmonary fibrosis.
Transportation by drone was via a refrigerated container "which maintains the thermal parameters of the organ" so that the latter is "viable for a transplantation.
A future operation
"I think drone technologies have a great potential for it to become a standard in terms of health care" , explains Mikaël Cardinal, Vice President at Unither Bioelectronics, the company of Biotechnology that made the flight. The latter, a subsidiary of the American company UNITED THERAPEUTICS, is established in Quebec.
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The device has crossed the "urban and complex" environment of Toronto city center in an automated way, with human supervision.
"The challenge now is to adapt this technology to make it accessible to patients around the world" , adds Dr. Keshavjee, specialized in pulmonary transplant, which recalls that the lung is "the most fragile of all organs" to conserve and transport.
Time is the most critical constraint for organ transport. Experience shows that drone delivery technology, already operational for online bought parcels in some countries, could actually be used to improve the current organ transport system and reduce the cost.
In April 2019, a drone had made a similar flight by sending a kidney to a Maryland hospital in the United States.
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