Scotland

Successful 'non-beating heart' transplant a first for Scotland

Colin standing next to his wife Susan in the hospital Image copyright NHS Golden Jubilee
Image caption Colin Davidson with his wife Susan after he recovered from the operation

A tyre-fitter from Midlothian has become the first person in Scotland to be transplanted with a heart that had stopped beating.

Colin Davidson suffered heart problems for 13 years before undergoing pioneering surgery earlier this year.

Transplant hearts are normally beating when they are removed from donors who are certified brain dead.

The surgery was possible due to technology which keeps hearts beating for longer outside the body.

Mr Davidson's operation took place at the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank - only the seventh centre in the world to transplant a heart that has stopped beating.

The ground-breaking treatment means surgeons can consider many more organs for transplant than they have in the past.

'Grateful beyond words'

Mr Davidson, 59, from Loanhead, said his health had improved markedly since the operation earlier this year.

Before the surgery he said he would get dizzy and breathless, he had no energy and could not walk 200 yards (183m) without getting out of breath.

Now, he said, he feels "normal again".

"I don't feel special being the first one in Scotland to have this procedure, I just feel grateful beyond words to my donor and their family and all of the medical and healthcare professionals who have given me a life again," he added.

Until recently, transplanting a heart that had stopped beating, known as donation after circulatory death (DCD), was considered too risky.

Image copyright NHS Golden Jubilee
Image caption The heart Colin received in a newly-developed machine for transporting the organ

However experts say the acquisition of new technology called the Organ Care System (OCS) has opened a new chapter for organ transplant in Scotland.

Surgeon Phil Curry, a consultant at the Golden Jubilee, carried out the procedure with the help of Simon Messer from Royal Papworth hospital in Cambridge, which was the first hospital in Europe to perform the pioneering surgery in 2015.

He said the technological advances would increase the number heart transplants and have a "life-changing and life-saving" impact on patients.

Image copyright NHS Golden Jubilee
Image caption Phil Curry said the advances were an 'important milestone' for the transplant centre in Clydebank

Meanwhile Mr Davidson's wife Susan called for more people to consider organ donation, saying the impact of heart failure goes beyond the patient and affects their family and friends as well.

She said: "Our lives are in the surgeons' hands, not just Colin's life, but my life as well because we don't have any children of our own and it's always been Colin and I.

"Everything is us and we, rather than just one of us. I would just like to thank the person that has donated this heart and their family for what they have done for Colin and I."

She added: "I would love for more people to consider donating their organs because, honestly, it is totally life-changing for recipients and their families."