Europe’s first non-beating heart transplant

Europe's first non-beating heart transplant

Surgeons in Cambridgeshire have performed the first heart transplant in Europe using a non-beating heart.

Donor hearts are usually from people who are brain-stem dead, but whose hearts are still beating.

In this case, the organ came from a donor after their heart and lungs had stopped functioning, so-called circulatory death.

Papworth hospital says the technique could increase the number of hearts available by at least 25%.

The recipient Huseyin Ulucan, 60, from London, had a heart attack in 2008.

He said: “Before the surgery, I could barely walk and I got out of breath very easily, I really had no quality of life.”

He said he was “delighted” with the improvement in health since the transplant.

“Now I’m feeling stronger every day, and I walked into the hospital this morning without any problem,” he said.

Shortage

There have been 171 heart transplant in the past 12 months in the UK.

But demand exceeds supply, and some patients have to wait up to three years for a suitable organ.

Many patients die before an organ becomes available.

Non-beating-heart donors provide kidneys, livers and other organs, but until now it has not been possible to use the heart because of concerns it would suffer damage.

The new procedure involved re-starting the heart in the donor five minutes after death and perfusing it and other vital organs with blood and nutrients at body temperature.

The lead transplant surgeon, Stephen Large, said: “We had the heart beating for about 50 minutes, and by monitoring its function were able to tell that it was in very good condition.”

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-32056350

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