Kaylee's story

Photo of Kaylee with mum 10 days after her transplant (photograph used courtesy of Rod Wilson, Newcastle Evening Chronicle)Medical history was made at the Freeman Hospital in 1987 when Kaylee Davidson, at just 4 months old, became Britain's youngest successful heart transplant patient. Read more here.


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Disease of the heart muscle.

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Cardiothoracic Services (Heart and Lung)

Cardiopulmonary (heart and/or lung) Transplant Service

Contact: (0191) 223 1151 - Dr G Parry, Consultant Physician - Cardiac Transplantation

The Freeman Hospital’s Cardiopulmonary Transplant Service was established over 20 years ago.  We performed our first heart transplant in 1985 and our first lung transplant in 1987.  We have since performed almost 800 heart transplants, including over 140 in children, and over 600 lung or heart and lung transplants. Over the last 3 years we have performed more cardiopulmonary transplants than anywhere else in the UK and we are widely regarded as the premier lung transplant service in the country.  Find out more about our survival rates here.


Our service is built around a dedicated and highly experienced team drawn from a wide range of experts, including: cardiothoracic surgeons, cardiologists, respiratory physicians and anaesthetists, as well as transplant coordinators, nurses, physiotherapists and social workers.  Working in close co-operation, this multidisciplinary team manages all aspects of patient care from initial assessment of potential transplant patients through to the long term post-transplant care required. 

Pioneering transplant surgery in the UK

Over the last 20 years we have pioneered the development of double lung and non-heart beating lung transplant surgery in the UK, and we performed:

  • the 1st  successful infant heart transplant in the UK in 1987
  • the 1st  single lung transplant in Europe in 1987
  • the 1st  double lung transplant in Europe in 1990
  • the 1st  non-heart beating lung transplant in the UK in 2002

Since 2003 we have developed a mechanical heart service for both children and adults, as a bridge for transplant until a suitable donor heart is available or as a bridge to recovery in suitable patients.

Transplant candidates

We will always explore alternative medical and surgical treatments before recommending transplantation. Patients referred for transplant assessment generally have one of the following conditions:

(i) End-stage Heart Failure  -  patients with severe heart failure due to the following conditions:

  • ischaemic heart disease
  • cardiomyopathy
  • valvular heart disease
  • congenital heart disease  

The Freeman Hospital is the primary transplant centre in the UK to offer heart transplants for adults with complex congenital heart disease.

 (ii) Life Threatening Lung Diseases – specific diseases potentially treatable by transplantation include:

  • Obstructive Lung Disease (eg. chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD or “smokers lung”), emphysema, alpha 1 anti-trypsin deficiency)
  • Suppurative Lung Disease (eg. cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis)
  • Diffuse Parenchymal Lung Disease (eg. idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, sarcoidosis, occupational lung fibrosis, connective tissue disease)
  • Pulmonary Vascular Disease (eg. idiopathic pulmonary hypertension, chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension, Eisenmenger’s syndrome)
  • Lymphangioleiomyomatosis
  • Langerhans cell histiocytosis

Organ Donation

You can find out more about Organ Donation on our Donations Section.

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