Professor Darren Walters holding the Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI).

Cow heart bags are rare for life-saving human heart valve exports

Exports of human heart valve replacements are the latest casualty of Australia’s labor shortage, with a Queensland meat processor unable to fill all of its vital orders for the beef by-product.

Nolan Meats is one of many accredited Australian companies to supply bovine pericardium tissue to manufacturers of medical products in the United States.

The fat attached to a cow’s heart sac must be carefully removed to ensure the delicate tissue is not damaged, before it is carefully cleaned, packaged and airlifted to California.

A bag of cleaned cow’s heart.(Landline: Kathleen Calderwood)

“We send this out every night and it goes over to the States and they make heart valves to transplant back into humans, so you’re actually saving human lives by collecting this product,” director Terry Nolan said.

“But some days you don’t collect them, because you don’t have the people to collect them.”

Terry Nolan stands above the production line.
Nolan Meats manager Terry Nolan says the labor shortage is tough.(Rural ABC: Bruce Atkinson)

Mr Nolan said his family’s meat factory was operating with two-thirds of the workers it needed, and despite paying higher wages than granted, their factory in Gympie had 150 vacancies to fill.

He despaired of having to waste parts of the animals they had bred and bred, simply because they didn’t have enough staff.

Cattle eating in a feedlot with green hills behind.
Most of the cattle processed at the factory are fed at the Wide Bay feedlot in Cinnabar.(Provided: Terry Nolan )

ABC Rural has contacted the Australian Medical Association and Prince Charles Hospital to ask if there is an impact on surgeons’ ability to procure transcatheter aortic valve (TAVI) implantations, which are made from the heart sacs of the cow.

Job , updated

#Cow #heart #bags #rare #lifesaving #human #heart #valve #exports

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *