Manchester, UK (BBN) – A desperately ill man’s life has been saved after doctors gave him a transplant using a ‘dead’ heart they had brought back to life.
Medics used a pioneering piece of technology dubbed a ‘heart in a box’ which can keep a heart preserved and beating for up to eight hours, reports Daily Mail.
Surgeons at Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester carried out the successful transfer to Anthony Anderson.
The 58-year-old, from Swinton, was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy – a disease of the heart muscle – which left him in intensive care and he was placed on the urgent transplant list.
Speaking after the operation, Anthony said: ‘When I got the call I felt very emotional – really happy, but of course sad that someone had to die to help me and I will be forever grateful to my donor.’
The renowned hospital is one of only four centres in the world to have carried out the revolutionary procedure.
Only a small handful of patients have so far undergone the treatment, the Manchester Evening News reports.
But doctors believe that it could potentially save countless more lives by allowing a greater number of donor hearts to be used for donation.
ABOUT HEART TRANSPLANTS
According to the NHS’s Blood and Transplant service, there were 197 heart transplants in UK hospitals last year.
But on the end of March 2016, 246 people were on the active donor list, 30 of whom were children.
Patients and donors must also be carefully matched to ensure the compatability, meaning that would-be recipients can wait years for a suitable replacement.
About 15 in every 100 patients die while on the waiting list for a heart transplant.
There is always a shortage of hearts and organs have to be transplanted very soon after the donor has died.
But doctors believe the new technology could help save countless more lives – by allowing allowing a greater number of donor hearts to be used for donation.
THE TEAM ARE ‘OUT OF THIS WORLD’
Anthony first began feeling tired and suffering with palpitations in 2002, but overtime his symptoms worsened significantly and he was referred to Wythenshawe Hospital.
Just weeks after his transplant, Anthony was back at home, but continues to be monitored by the team.
He said: ‘I think the transplant team at Wythenshawe Hospital are out of this world. I’m getting stronger every day and my plan is now to enjoy retirement with my wife Lisa, a paediatric nurse at Salford Royal.’
HOW IT WORKS
The revolutionary transplant technique was first devised a few years ago, but is not currently widely used.
Doctors are using a technology known as an the Transmedia Organ Care System to resuscitate previously unusable hearts.
It works by pumping blood round the heart to restore functionality. Once the heart is beating again, surgeons are able to assess the donor heart more extensively and reduce the risk of rejection.
Rajamiyer Venkateswaran, director of transplantation and consultant cardiac surgeon at the hospital explained that this type of transplant is different because it uses a ‘Donation After Circulatory Determined Death’ (DCD) donor heart.
This is where the donor is not brain dead but has sustained severe brain injury
‘In this scenario the treatment of the donor is withdrawn and allows cardiac arrest to happen,’ he said.
‘The heart is then retrieved from the donor and is resuscitated on the Organ Care System machine.
‘I am so proud of our team at the Transplant Centre It is an amazing development as previously we would not have been able to use these hearts for transplantation.
Dr Venkateswaran said he hoped the new procedure will increase the hospital’s 25 heart transplants a year by 20 per cent by using hearts from DCD donors.
The highly specialised OCS machine has been funded by a £125,000 donation by the New Start Charity.
Wythenshawe Hospital, run by the University Hopsital of South Manchester NHS Trust, has long been home to one of the UK’s top cardiac centres and is home to world-leading experts in heart, lungs and chest surgery.
Medics there carried out an extra 350 hours of surgery in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena bombing.