Brtish surgeons have saved the lives of six children using a machine that can ‘restart’ hearts outside of the body.
NHS doctors carried out the world’s first ‘dead heart’ transplants using a pioneering machine that gives new life to donor hearts that had previously stopped.
The procedure has saved the lives of six UK children, aged between 12 and 16.
One recipient is 16-year-old Anna Hadley who had been waiting almost two years for a new heart. Since her surgery, which took place during the pandemic, she is back to her usual life, healthy and playing hockey again.
As per The Sunday Times, which first reported on the life-changing technique, Hadley was called in for her operation at 2.30am at Great Ormond Street when a heart became available.
Within a day of her surgery, which was carried out by Dr Lyubomyr Bohuta, she was sitting up in bed and asking after her grandmother. Two weeks later, she was able to leave the hospital and has since taken up her old hobbies again.
‘I just feel normal again. There’s nothing I cannot do now,’ she told the publication.
One transplant physician at the hospital said the ‘game-changing’ technology could double the number of children’s lives that are saved.
‘This new technique will save lives both here and around the world. It means people can donate their hearts where it wouldn’t have been possible in the past, giving life to patients on the waiting list,’ the doctor added.
The procedure works by placing the heart into a sterile chamber, which is plugged into a machine called a TransMedics Organ Care System. This keeps the heart at 34 degrees Celcius.
To keep the heartbeat, 1.5 litres of blood from the donor is oxygenated and combined with the required nutrients and pumped through the organ. Doctors looking after the heart can also move blood through the organ quicker using a remote control if necessary.
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