Drone delivers first kidney at US medical center


WASHINGTON – A kidney needed for transplantation was done by a drone for the first time, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, a development that can announce faster and safer organ transplantation.

The high-tech drone was specially equipped with equipment to monitor the kidney along its five-mile journey to its recipient – a 44-year-old woman from Baltimore who spent eight years on dialysis prior to the procedure.

The drone, which required special clearance from aviation regulators, took off at 1am on 19 April and flew at a height of 120 meters for about 10 minutes before landing at its destination.

Dr. Joseph Scalea, who was part of the team of transplant surgeons, praised the success of the project and said deliveries of drones could help overcome the delays that destroy the viability of an organ.

"The next race can be 30 miles, or 100. The distance is relatively unimportant," he told AFP on Wednesday (May 1). "The most important part is that we have been able to implement drone technology in today's transplant and transportation system."

Current methods of transportation involve costly charter flights or even variable commercial flights, occasionally resulting in delays, and typically cost about $ 5,000.

According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, there were about 114,000 people on waiting lists for an organ transplant in the US in 2018.

About 1.5 percent of deceased donor shipments did not reach their intended destination, while nearly four percent of organ shipments were unplanned for two or more hours.

Scalea, who founded a company that manages data for shipments of organs, compared the system to a service similar to Uber, which turned out to be less costly.


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