Irish Heart and Lung Transplant Association

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Organ Care System

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Surgeons transplanted a heart removed from a donor which was kept beating for five hours while it was transported to the waiting recipient. This pioneering surgery was carried out at Papworth Hospital and is the first time the technique, which involved connecting the heart to a machine the size of a tea trolley, has been tried in the UK.

Surgeons hope it will extend the lifesaving operation to scores more patients by making more heart and lungs available for transplant. The Organ Care System keeps the heart beating until it is ready to be transplanted. Organs quickly deteriorate after being taken from the body and hospitals operate on a limited time (approx four hours) when using a non-beating donor heart.

By extending the period during which the heart can be used, the Organ Care System will increase the number of organs available for transplant and the number of potential recipients could be broadened. We are continuing to fundraise for this important care system.

Artificial Heart

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A young Mother recently received an artificial heart in a first time operation performed in this country in the Mater Hospital. The mother of four was deemed unsuitable for transplant because of a blood disorder. Surgeons decided to offer her a new technology, which is normally used to buy time for people waiting for a transplant.

This pump is regarded as a destination treatment, and she is likely to have it for life unless other medical advances in the future make her suitable for a transplant. This new device is called Left ventricular device (LVAD). It is a battery operated mechanical pump-type appliance that is surgically fitted to help maintain the pumping action of a heart that is unable to work effectually on its own.The Pump is carried in a shoulder bag containing the batteries and electronic controls for the implanted device. This device cost €90,000.

Professor Freddie Wood said up to 3000 people around the world have been implanted with this device which is mostly used as a bridge to transplant.

He commended her courage for going ahead with the eight hour operation. She has since made a good recovery and is now at home with her family.

We at IHLTA wish her and her family well.

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