Paragonix's organ transport hardware show gains in heart, lung transplants

Organ preservation company Paragonix Technologies delivered a pair of studies showing its transportation hardware could have a positive impact on patients receiving heart and lung transplants. 

Billed as complete upgrades over the simple, ice-packed coolers that have been relied upon to move donor tissue for decades, the company’s heart-focused SherpaPak and its LUNGguard system are both cleared by the FDA and CE marked for use in Europe.

Presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation last week, Paragonix said data from a heart transplant registry demonstrated its SherpaPak could potentially expand the available pool of organ donors.

Researchers evaluated the long-term success of patients who received cardiac tissue from what have been described as “extended criteria donors,” or cases that might not meet the standard criteria for donation but are still considered suitable, albeit at a higher risk of future complications. 

The study tracked 330 transplant recipients from nine U.S. centers. Those who received a heart transported via traditional ice-cold storage had a higher rate of primary graft dysfunction, at 13.9%, compared to the SherpaPak group at 6.2%.

The SherpaPak suspends the donor heart in a pressure-controlled canister and aims to hold the temperature evenly across the organ at just above freezing. LUNGguard works similarly, allowing whole or partial lungs to be stored for up to eight hours. 

The company’s LUNGguard study, meanwhile, showed reduced hospital readmission rates among organ recipients. 

When compared to commercial coolers, registry data pointed to a 24% decline in trips back to the hospital for complications within one year of the procedure, gathered from 239 total patients from five transplant centers. 

The study also noted reductions in the median amount of time spent in intensive care units as well as fewer cases of primary graft dysfunction, though these findings were not statistically significant.

“Our goal at Paragonix is to not only improve transplant patient outcomes, but improve the transplant experience,” President and CEO Lisa Anderson said in a release. “The results of this study demonstrate the significant impact that advanced hypothermic preservation may have on transplant recipients. Now, over 25% of U.S. lung transplant centers, as well as multiple centers across Europe, trust LUNGguard to safeguard donor organs en route to their waitlist patients.”