The transplant recipient underwent the revolutionary procedure at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) using an Organ Care System which can restore the heart to beating after it has been donated.
Mr Rajamiyer Venkateswaran, Director of Transplantation and Consultant Cardiac Surgeon at Wythenshawe Hospital, which is part of MFT, said: “This is a different type of transplant because in this case the transplant occurred after using a ‘Donation After Circulatory Determined Death’ (DCD) donor heart – 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“In this scenario the treatment of the donor is withdrawn and allows cardiac arrest to happen. 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. We are the first centre in the North West, the third centre in England and the fourth centre in the world to carry out this particular procedure. It is an amazing development as previously we would not have been able to use these hearts for transplantation.”
The Transmedia Organ Care System (OCS) often referred to as the ‘heart in box’ increases how long a donated heart can be kept outside the body, for up to eight hours. The portable machine pumps blood round the heart to restore functionality. Once the heart is beating again, it also allows surgeons to assess the donor heart more extensively; whether the donor heart is suitable for transplantation, reducing the risk of rejection.
Mr Venkateswaran added; “Using the OCS in this way enables us to have more time to do thorough assessments of donor hearts, undertake blood tests and then proceed with the transplant if appropriate.”
Anthony Anderson, 58, from Swinton, Manchester, who received the heart was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy in 2002 after he began feeling tired and suffered with palpitations.
He said: “My symptoms worsened significantly and I was referred to Wythenshawe Hospital in early 2017. I was being treated on the Intensive Care Unit and then put on the super urgent waiting list for a transplant.
“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.”
Anthony was able to return home just weeks after his transplant and is continuing to be monitored regularly.
“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, ” he added.
Mr Venkateswaran also hopes that by utilising hearts from this new source could now increase the number of transplants undertaken at Wythenshawe Hospital.
He said: “We currently undertake 25 heart transplants a year, but we are hoping this could increase by 20%, just by now starting to use hearts from DCD donors.”
The OCS machine has been funded by the New Start Charity which donated £125,000. New Start is a charity set up to provide financial assistance to the heart and lung transplantation programme and future clinical developments in heart and lung surgery at Wythenshawe Hospital.
In 2017, Wythenshawe Hospital celebrates the 30th anniversary of its first transplant operation.