First Organ Delivery by a Drone Ends with Successful Transplant

In human history, it was the first time that a drone transported a donated kidney. The kidney was then transplanted successfully into a patient, as University of Maryland Medical Center posted last week. The unmanned aircraft can be the go-to system to deliver organ in safest, fastest and is the least expensive method the organ transplant clock stops beating.

Researchers, physicians, and aviation engineering experts of the Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland, the University of Maryland and University of Maryland School of Medicine developed the uncrewed aircraft system. Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland is a nonprofit organization that assists in organ and tissue donation as well as transplantation.

The patient was a 44-year woman whose eight years of life was spent on dialysis. She describes it as a fantastic new development. Her transplant procedure has been successful.

The earlier an organ can be transplanted the better its chance to work. The flight that delivered the organ at the Baltimore-based hospital took somewhat around 5 minutes. It takes many moving parts for delivering an organ of a donor to the patient. Transportation is among that most complex, yet crucial steps in the process of the organ transplant process. In a typical way, the organs of donors are transported by commercial or chartered flights. Often, air traffic makes delay while sporadically organs are found left on planes.

Around 1.5% of donated organ shipments didn’t reach their target destination. Nearly 4% of donated-organ delivery received an unanticipated delay of 2 or more hours. The percentage has come into the surface from the United Network for Organ Sharing. This organization manages the transplant system of the US. Almost 114,000 people were on the waiting lists last year for an organ transplant.

Test flights which transported blood tubes, saline and other medical materials, preceded the historical delivery. After that, it carried a healthy human kidney. The new achievement includes some technological firsts – a special high-tech apparatus to maintain and monitor a viable human organ and the customized unmanned aircraft system.