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Urgent baby heart transplant appeal

Tiarna Middleton in the Freeman hospital Credit: Newcastle Hospitals

Doctors on Tyneside say a Europe-wide appeal to find a new heart for a 15-day-old baby girl is becoming more urgent by the hour.

Earlier this week Tiarna Middleton became the youngest baby in the world to be fitted with a mechanical Berlin heart, at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital.

It acts as a second heart until a transplant can be arranged.

Her parents' plea for a donor has spread as far as New York.

However, an organ transport time limit of just five hours means the search is limited to Europe.

Baby is youngest in the world to have Berlin heart

Tiarna Middleton in the Freeman hospital Credit: Newcastle Hospitals

A baby has become the youngest in the world to be supported by a Berlin Heart device.

Tiarna Middleton, 14 days old, from Rowlands Gill in Gateshead was born on May 22 with an extremely rare heart condition.

It was decided she would not survive and doctors at the Freeman Hospital decided to use a new small Berlin Heart Ventricular Assist Device - which was delivered from The Berlin Heart Company in Germany where it is made.

On Tuesday, surgeon Massimo Griselli fitted Tiarna with this device which doctors hope can keep her alive until a donor heart is found.



Mortality rates released for children's heart surgery

Mortality rates for all children's heart surgery centres have been released following the temporary suspension of operations at the Leeds unit. It comes following concerns about death rates at Leeds which emerged after Newcastle's Freeman Hospital was chosen as the designated heart surgery centre.

The Freeman was selected over Leeds General Infirmary following the biggest consultation the NHS has ever carried out. However that decision is now on hold after campaigners in Leeds won a high court battle which upheld concerns that the rating system used during the decision process was flawed.

Now, data released by NHS England shows that none of the 10 centres in England breached thresholds for child heart surgery deaths, however Leeds General Infirmary was very close to the alert level. Operations resumed at the unit on Wednesday following a safety review.

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NHS England: we 'should be applauded for making a swift decision' over heart surgery unit

Deputy Medical Director for NHS England, Dr Mike Bewick, has told a health scrutiny committee, "to not do things is very easy. We are always criticised for not taking action and we thought there were potential dangers. NHS England should be applauded for making a swift decision."

He added that a rapid review of the unit over the weekend found it to be safe. He said cardiologists and staff are dedicated and are doing what they believe in.

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