Girl with two hearts healthy with just one

April 13, 2006

British surgeons are amazed how quickly a 12-year-old Welsh girl, who had her transplanted heart removed after 10 years, has recovered with her original heart.

Ten years ago in London, 2-year-old Hannah Clark had a new heart implanted because her own heart was swollen and unable to function on its own. Technology in mechanical devices then was not reliable enough to suit her doctors, and they left her own heart in place.

Last November, her body began rejecting the second heart. Dr. Magdi Yacoub, who performed Hannah's original heart transplant, advised surgeons to remove it and see if her own heart had strengthened.

It had, and the girl is recovering well and looking forward to returning to school, the BBC reported.

Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation, described the operation as an important event.

"Surgeons have thought for some time that if a heart is failing because of acute inflammation it might be able to recover if rested," he said. "This seems to be exactly what has happened in this case."

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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