First in the world hearts transplant in children with organs carried by a machine

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NHS doctors became first in world to complete transplants in children using organs brought back to life by a machine. “No one else in the world is currently doing this,” said Marius Berman, consultant cardiothoracic transplant surgeon. Usually, the transplants have all happened during the coronavirus pandemic and the lives of six British youngsters aged from 12 to 16 were saved this way. Donated hearts have historically been from people who are brain dead but their hearts are still beating. What was new now ? Royal Papworth Hospital medics in Cambridgeshire have made hearts start to beat again after they have stopped, and the organs have been successfully transplanted into youngsters at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital.

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The hearts were brought back to life using a machine called an organ care system (OCS). The donor heart is retrieved and put on the OCS, where it is kept warm and has 1.5 litres of the donor’s blood pumped through it in a cycle, and receives nutrients. he technology had previously been tried only in adults. Some of the solved transplant cases had restrictive cardiomyopathy. The condition pushes the lung pressures up and causes dizziness, chest pain, palpitations and tiredness. The breakthrough is expected to allow a big expansion in the number of donor hearts available, reduce post-operation complications, speed up recoveries, increase transplant survival rates and save hundreds of lives.