Yu Sun receives Connaught Innovation Award

The Connaught Fund is an internal program that provides U of T researchers with funding to further their work. Prof. Yu Sun received one of ten Connaught Innovation Awards this year.

Yu Sun: Increasing the supply of hearts for transplant

Around the world, transplantable hearts are in short supply. Patients who need one typically wait weeks or months to receive it. Professor Yu Sun (MIE) and his team, in collaboration with Dr. Mitesh Badiwala of Toronto General Hospital, are creating new instruments that they hope will change that.

“The short supply is exacerbated by the fact that many donor hearts become unusable when they reach the hospital for transplantation,” says Sun. “With an artificial heart perfusion system, we can actually resuscitate a heart that has stopped beating, and potentially render it suitable for transplant.”

But even with a heart perfusion system, it can be hard to assess the condition of the resuscitated heart without invasive techniques that often end up damaging the organ. As a result, the number of resuscitated hearts that actually get transplanted remains low.

Sun and collaborators plan to improve on their current heart perfusion system designs by integrating sensors that measure the pressure and flow of blood in and out of the heart. Data from these sensors can be analyzed using machine learning techniques to provide a real-time, quantitative assessment of the heart’s function.

“With this new capability, we expect to increase the use of donor hearts for transplantation to help overcome the persistent issue of donor organ shortages,” says Sun.

See the full story on UofT Engineering News.

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