Tyne & Wear

Cardiff mother 'scans' heart-swap toddler

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Media captionLaura Richards has been trained to use a mobile heart scanner on her baby's transplanted heart

The mother of a transplant toddler has been trained to do heart scans so doctors can monitor his progress from 200 miles away.

Three-year-old Iolan Richards underwent a heart transplant at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital in January.

The operation was a success, but doctors need to keep a close eye on his new heart, so have trained his mother to take regular scans.

Twice a week she will e-mail them to the team from her home near Cardiff.

Iolan, who was born with a number of heart defects, had undergone surgery at hospital in Bristol.

After developing serious complications he was transferred to the unit in Newcastle for a transplant.

He is now ready to return to a hospital in Cardiff, close to his home town of Porthcawl.

'Extremely grateful'

Laura Richards, 31, said: "They've been training me here how to do echoes and get a few of the views they would want to get.

"But because we are so far from here I can scan him twice a week and e-mail the pictures. I'm trained in everything now.

"I'm extremely grateful to the Freeman - there's just nothing you can say - they have gone above and beyond and so far it has worked."

Iolan is under the care of consultant paediatric cardiologist Dr Richard Kirk.

He said the youngster had to be treated with new drugs for a few months before he was ready for a heart transplant.

Dr Kirk said: "When a new heart finally became available he was ready to take that heart and not reject it."

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