Irish Heart and Lung Transplant Association

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Message from our Chairman Brendan Gilligan

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You may be aware of recent advertisements in the newspapers concerning:
Public Consultation for the Consent for Donation of Organs for Transplantation. More Information here.
Your Association in conjunction with The Irish Donor Network have expressed a choice of maintaining the current informed consent practice together with
‘Required Request Mandatory Reporting’

Draft Response to Consultation Process:

The Committee and members of the Association agree that of the various consent options contained in the consultation document they wish to express their choice as:
“Maintaining the current informed consent practice with required request and mandatory reporting”

We understand that required request would mean a statutory obligation on appropriate personnel within the ICU’s to approach potential organ donor families requesting organ donation following the patients’ brain death.

We understand mandatory reporting to mean that full and complete records would be maintained in each hospital recording all engagements with potential donors’ families, the outcome, refusals, and the reasons for refusals.

Our Association first wrote to the then Minister Michael Martin in 2001 asking for the establishment of a Formal Transplant Authority to regulate all activities within the area of Donation, Procurement and Transplantation.

We now support the call of our colleagues in The Irish Donor Network who are promoting the establishment of a formal transplant oversight body which we all consider essential to achieve a successful organ transplant program in our country.

Last Updated on Monday, 20 June 2011 20:50

Some of the projects we funded:

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1. Our association donated €160000.00 to Professor Freddie Wood to assist in the establishment of the Mechanical Heart Programme in the Mater hospital. It has kept several patients alive until a suitable Heart became available

2. We purchased Physiotherapy exercise equipment for post transplant patients in the Heart and Lung Unit.

3. Medical equipment for Heart and Lung Unit. (E.G. Blood Pressure monitors and such).

4. We provided the finance for a specialist training course in Paris for Mater Hospital transplant coordinators.

5. Specialist training courses in the U K. for heart and lung transplant nurses from the Heart and Lung Unit in the Mater Hospital.

6. Hands free Phones for 3 coordinator.

7. Computer upgrades for Transplant Specialist Nurse.

8. Contribution to the printing of the new Heart Manual.

9. At the moment we are organising support to purchase an ‘Organ Care System’ for the Mater Transplant team.
This is an extremely important and necessary machine because it keeps the blood flowing through a heart and lungs after they have been harvested from a donor until they reach the recipient. This reduces the chances of damage to the organs and rejection afterwards; to date we have donated €70000.00

10. Prof Jim Egan requested the Association to help fund the staff administration cost for a new experimental Lung Programme which is being operate in The Heart & Lung Transplant Unit in the Mater Hospital at the moment. So far we have donated €10000.00. Further funding is pending.

11. We have contributed €2,500 towards the purchase of replacement televisions for St. Cecilia's Cardiology ward in the Mater Hospital.

12. We organise and fund a Remembrance and Thanksgiving Mass in February of each year to remember our Donors and families, and afterwards hold a reception in the Pillar room of the Mater for our members and families and friends.

13. Attendance at nurses conference in San Diego USA.

14. Purchase of a ventilator for the intensive care unit.


We confidently provide support to patients and their families who are waiting for a transplant . With the help from our Association, facilities have improved in the Mater Hospital for patients who are pre and post transplant but there is still so much more we can do.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 June 2011 21:23

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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