Watch A Beating Heart or Breathing Lung - Outside the Human Body!

Yeah, that's a human heart beating in a plastic box, and no, it isn't some macabre valentine, it's a cutting-edge medical technology that can radically improve the outcomes of transplant surgery.

If you haven't seen it in real life, you've almost certainly seen in it on television or in a movie - an organ being packed into a glorified beer cooler and rushed to a waiting transplant patient, and for years this has been the real protocol for handling transplant organs pre-surgery.

The reason the people transporting the cooler are always in such a rush is that ice can only slow the deterioration of the vital tissues, leaving a five to 10 hour window after the organs are removed from a steady blood and oxygen supply before they completely shut down and become useless.

But a new device called the "Organ Care System," which has already been successfully used in 12 transplants, is poised to change all that.

The creators of the device - which currently can be used with either a lung or a heart - call it the "heart in a box" or "lung in a box," and one look at the device shows why:

These images may freak you out a little, but someday the technology in them might save your life.


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