OCS Heart System Earns Hard-Won Backing of FDA Panel

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fairly difficult
The nonbinding vote moves forward the device, which advocates hailed as a potentially transformative step for heart transplantation.
After more than 10 hours of intense debate, a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel gave its support to a premarket approval application (PMA) for the TransMedics Organ Care System (OCS) Heart system.

The OCS Heart is a portable extracorporeal perfusion and monitoring system designed to keep a donor heart in a normothermic, beating state. The "heart in a box" technology allows donor hearts to be transported across longer distances than is possible with standard cold storage, which can safely preserve donor hearts for about 4 hours.

The Circulatory System Devices Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee voted 12 to 5, with 1 abstention, that the benefits of the OCS Heart System outweigh its risks.

The panel voted in favor of the OCS Heart being effective (10 yes, 6 no, and 2 abstaining) and safe (9 yes, 7 no, 2 abstaining) but not without mixed feelings.

James Blankenship, MD, a cardiologist at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, voted yes to all three questions but said, "If it had been compared to standard of care, I would have voted no to all three. But if it's compared to getting an [left ventricular assist device] LVAD or not getting a heart at all, I would say the benefits outweigh the risks."

Marc R. Katz, MD, chief of cardiothoracic surgery, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, also gave universal support, noting that the rate of heart transplantations has been flat for years. "This is a big step forward toward being able to expand that number. Now all that said, it obviously was a less than perfect study and I do think there needs to be some constraints put on the utilization."

The panel reviewed data from the single-arm OCS Heart EXPAND trial and associated EXPAND Continued Access Protocol (CAP), as well the sponsor's first OCS Heart trial, PROCEED II.

EXPAND met its effectiveness endpoint, with 88% of donor hearts successfully transplanted, an 8% incidence of severe primary graft dysfunction (PGD) 24 hours…
Patrice Wendling
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