Currently, many suitable donor hearts do not get transplanted. The physical separation of transplant specialists and donors, together with the limited time for critical organ assessment, mean that expert appraisal of beating donor hearts is rarely possible. The Xiomed remote assessment system will allow an operator at a remote donor hospital to communicate in real time with a specialist assessor based at one of the United Kingdom heart transplant centres.
"At an early stage in the process the transplant team must assess the appropriateness of the donor heart and then match the organ to a suitable recipient", stated Dr. David Royston, Senior Cardiac Anaesthetist at Harefield Hospital. "Following the diagnosis of brain death the heart function may deteriorate significantly. Optimising the donor heart function during the time prior to organ retrieval is of paramount importance."
Xiomed's system will enable an expert to view high quality medical images in real time over a wired and/or wireless connection. By using the system's voice and data connections, the medical expert can guide the remote operator throughout the assessment. "While initially videoconferencing equipment might appear to offer a similar solution", stated Rick Albrow, Xiomed Director and Co-founder, "they do not employ suitable video compression nor meet the reliability, availability and confidentiality requirements for such a critical task. Furthermore, they are not portable, and do not allow multiplexing of additional data streams."
Dr. Royston added: "There are currently no systems available which allow interactive real time transfers of complex physiological measurements and especially video and Doppler-derived data. The anticipated clinical benefit of implementing a remote organ assessment system is a 20 percent increase in organs available for donation. The Xiomed system should play a pivotal role in helping the Trust achieve the National Health Service (NHS) target of a 10 percent increase in heart transplants by 2006."
Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust is the largest cardiothoracic centre in the United Kingdom and probably the largest in Europe. Both hospitals are at the leading edge nationally and internationally in the investigation, treatment and care of people with heart and lung disease. The DTI sponsored Smart Award is managed and administered by the Small Business Service.
Formed in 2002, Xiomed Ltd. develops and markets wireless and multimedia solutions for the health care industry. Xiomed's initial focus is in the development of an industry first remote assessment system using leading-edge technology to enable improved clinical benefits.