The pigs had been dead for an hour and had no vital signs when a group of researchers from the Yale School of Medicine began their experiment.
They pumped a unique solution, which they called OrganEx, into the bodies of the dead animals. What happened next shocked everyone: the pig cells revived. Their hearts beat as the solution circulated in their veins and arteries. Cells in organs, including the liver, kidneys, and brain, were functioning again, and the animals did not become rigid as mammals do after death.
Other pigs, also dead for an hour, were treated with ECMO, a medical device that pumped their own, oxygenated blood through their bodies. This time, the animals became rigid, their organs swelled and damaged, and their blood vessels collapsed.
Researchers say this research aims to increase the supply of human organs for transplants, allowing doctors to obtain viable organs longer after donors die. In addition, they hope the technology could also be used to prevent serious damage to the heart after a devastating heart attack or to the brain after a major stroke.
But the technology is “very far from being used in humans.”
The OrganEx solution contains nutrients, anti-inflammatory substances, drugs that prevent cell death, and artificial hemoglobin mixed with each animal’s blood.