October 16, 2021

Hüseyin Babal

Health Article

First drone transported organ for kidney transplant

2 min read

The kidney used in a kidney transplant at the University of Maryland Medical Center last week was brought by drone from a hospital 5 km away.

Drones can transport donated organs to their new owners faster than traditional transport methods, ensuring that organs are still usable when they reach their destination. On April 19, a drone delivered a kidney to doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center from a hospital 5 miles away. The kidney was then successfully transplanted into a patient with kidney failure. Thus, for the first time, a drone carried an organ to be used in organ transplantation.

The transplant recipient was a 44-year-old Baltimore woman. The woman, who spent eight years on a dialysis machine before the transplant, left the hospital a few days after the operation.

Special drone was produced to transport organs

The drone used to transport the kidney was arranged to work with eight propellers to ensure its stability. The device specially produced by the university was designed to determine and adjust the temperature, barometric pressure, altitude, vibration and position. Thus, it was ensured that the organ was preserved in the best conditions during the flight.

Prior to this procedure, the research team had carried serum, blood tubes and other materials via drones and conducted test flights with kidneys not suitable for transplantation.

This isn’t the first time drones have been used to transport medical supplies, which must be handled with care in controlled environments. Medicines and blood have been transported by drone in Rwanda and Ghana before. In Vanuatu, too, drones are used to deliver vaccines. But the organ transplant process is more delicate. Organs can only stay outside the body for a few hours. That’s why timing is very important. As of 2018, 114,000 people in the US were waiting for an organ transplant. 4 percent of organs suffer unforeseen delays of two hours or more in transit. Drone transport could prevent such situations and enable more people to benefit from organ transplants. Drone delivery has many different applications, but this may be the most valuable of them all.

Source: Technology Review

On April 19, a drone delivered a kidney to doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center from a hospital 5 miles away. The kidney was then successfully transplanted into a patient with kidney failure. Thus, for the first time, a drone carried an organ to be used in organ transplantation. The drone used to transport the kidney was arranged to work with eight propellers to ensure its stability. The device specially produced by the university was designed to determine and adjust the temperature, barometric pressure, altitude, vibration and position. Thus, it was ensured that the organ was preserved in the best conditions during the flight.

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