BEIJING, April 18 (Xinhuanet) -- A 12-year-old British
heart transplant patient is "doing very well" after having her donor organ
removed and her own heart restarted, Latimes.com reported Monday.
Doctors think it is the first case of someone
getting a new heart and then switching back to the original one.
About 10 years ago, Hannah Clark, 12, of South Wales
had a heterotopic transplant operation - known as a "piggyback" because the
donor heart is placed next to the original organ.
It was an unusual operation because when doctors put
the new heart in her body, they left her existing heart in place, even though
the new one was doing all the work.
Complications arose, however, after her body recently
started reacting badly to the drugs she was taking to stop her body from
rejecting the donor heart. Surgeons then made the decision to remove it.
Surprisingly, doctors found that "actually
her old heart was now working quite well," said a spokesman from London's Great
Ormond Street Hospital for Children.
"So we removed the transplant heart, we were able to
take her off the anti-rejection drugs and reconnected her old heart back up
again and it worked. She's doing very well."
He added: "We would be surprised if anybody came up
with another case. Maybe it's a world first."
Surgeons have thought for some time that "if a heart
is failing because of acute inflammation, it might be able to recover if
rested," said Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British Heart