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Berlin Heart Saves The Life Of An Eighteen Month Old Child

Little Claudia Twiby, eighteen months old was kept alive with a Berlin heart until a real one was found for a transplant// .

Four weeks later she received a new donated heart and is now back home in Brighton with her parents Jodie Lansdale, 32, and Shaun Twiby, 42.

Claudia was only the second small child to be fitted with a Berlin heart at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital, which first carried out the operation in November 2004.

Berlin heart is a life-saving device that takes over the functions of the patient's sick heart until doctors find a suitable donor organ. This comes very handy as there is a desperately short supply of organs for the babies and toddlers.

Claudia suddenly became ill just after her first birthday. After various tests it was found that she needed to undergo heart transplantation. But there was a shortage of organs, particularly for small children. But she was very lucky because she got the heart so quickly.

A Berlin heart costs about £41,000 per patient, and comes in different sizes so it can be used for children as young as two months as well as adults.

Internationally, it has already been used on 158 children. The longest time a child has stayed on the device was for 15 months in Hong Kong.

Ms Lansdale said that there should be an increased amount of awareness among the people in connection with organ donation especially for children as it is very difficult to find organs that are match a match for the children.


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