News – UK – NHS doctors on ‘world first’ transplant with previously stopped heart


Posted: 08:37 GMT, Dec. February 2021 | Updated: 09:10 GMT, Jan. February 2021

NHS doctors are reportedly the first in the world to successfully transplant a heart that was previously stopped in a child patient

Surgeons in the past have used the hearts of brain-dead patients – someone whose heart is still beating but cannot survive without artificial life support – in transplants

In a move that could hugely increase the availability of donor organs, surgeons have for the first time transplanted hearts that had previously been stopped in adolescent patients

Doctors at Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire used a groundbreaking new machine to get the heart beating again

Six patients between the ages of 12 and 16 have benefited from the breakthrough technology so far, reports the Sunday Times

Doctors at Royal Papworth Hospital (Photo: Cambridge Biomedical Campus, which includes Addenbrooke’s Hospital and Royal Papworth Hospital) in Cambridgeshire used a groundbreaking new machine to get the heart beating again

The first patient to benefit from the procedure was Anna Hadley, 16, from Worcester, who had waited almost two years for her heart transplant

Anna, who told the newspaper that she has been able to play hockey again since her transplant, said, “I just feel normal again, I can’t do anything now ‘

She told the BBC, “I have more stamina now, I can take long walks and climb hills, and I don’t have to stop to catch my breath

Dr John Forsythe, medical director of organ donation and transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said the new technique will “save lives here and around the world”

‘I’m thrilled that I got such a great gift, but it’s annoying to know someone has died too’

Hearts donated historically come from people who are brain dead, but whose hearts are still beating

Brain death, also known as brain stem death, occurs when a person no longer has any brain functions on an artificial life support machine

Such patients are especially important for organ transplants because, if they are donors and their family does not object, their organs can usually be used to save the lives of others

A donation without a heartbeat has previously been considered unsuitable for a transplant, as the lack of oxygen causes damage to the heart when it stops

However, in the groundbreaking new transplant, doctors used a heart-in-a-box device called the Organ Care System to bring hearts back to life once they were removed from the donor

As soon as a defibrillation pulse is used to get the hearts beating again, they are kept warm and have 15 liters of blood from the donor to be pumped through them in a cycle, receiving nutrients

The hearts were then flown to London to be transplanted at Great Ormond Street Hospital, the Sunday Times reported

The resuscitated hearts were then flown to London to be transplanted at Great Ormond Street Hospital (pictured) in London, the Sunday Times reported

The technique has been tried in adults, but it was first used in children, all of whom had life-threatening conditions

On average, children have to wait two and a half times longer than adults for hearts to be available

The breakthrough is expected to allow a significant increase in the number of available donor hearts, reduce post-operative complications, speed recovery, increase transplant survival rates, and save hundreds of lives, the paper says

Dr John Forsythe, Medical Director, Organ Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said, “This new technique will save lives here and around the world.

‘It means people can donate their hearts where they couldn’t in the past and give life to patients on the waiting list’

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Organ Transplant, Heart Transplant, United Kingdom, Medicine

News – GB – NHS doctors in ‘world’s first’ transplant with previously stopped heart