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Blackburn teenager home after heart transplant

A teenager from Blackburn is back home from hospital just two months after doctors gave her a five per cent chance of survival.

Emily Linaker had been on the waiting list for a heart transplant for several months, but the operation became urgent after her condition got rapidly worse.

Her mum says they feel incredibly lucky after a donor heart became available just in time to save Emily's life.

Amy Welch reports

Blackburn girl back home after heart transplant

Emily Linaker Credit: ITV Granada

A 14 year old girl from Blackburn back at home with a new heart just two months after doctors gave her a five per cent chance of survival.

Emily Linaker had been on the waiting list for a heart transplant for several months, but the operation became urgent after her heart deteriorated so suddenly it left her on the brink of death.

Her mother, Sam, said they now feel like 'the luckiest family on the planet' after a donor heart became available just in time to save her.

Emily was diagnosed with restrictive cardiomyopathy - a condition which reduces the heart's ability to fill up, reducing the blood flow - at the beginning of 2013 after her legs swelled up.

Doctors became concerned in November when she began vomiting heavily.

She was taken to the specialist Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.

Emily's blood pressure and heart rate dropped dangerously low and she was admitted to intensive care and put on an ECMO machine - a device that does the work of the heart and lungs.

As a complication of the machine being fitted, she suffered severe internal bleeding and doctors feared she would not recover.

Mrs Linaker, 47, said: 'She was very, very poorly for about three days and it was touch and go whether she'd make it."

Emily was moved up the transplant waiting list as her condition deteriorated and she was incredibly lucky to learn a heart had become available just after she recovered from the internal bleeding.

The transplant went ahead on November 13 and there were no complications, but Emily had to stay in hospital for another five weeks, returning home just in time for Christmas.

Her family has been told the donor was a lady in her 30s who died of a brain tumour.

For the next three months Emily will have to take 40 tablets each day, and will need weekly check-ups in Newcastle, but she hopes to return to school in April.

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