Transplantation (lung)

Our heart and lung transplantation unit, based at Harefield Hospital, is the UK’s largest and most experienced centre for heart and lung transplants. The unit works with the Heart Science Centre, which is at the forefront of research into heart disease and transplantation.

Our work

We have performed almost 3,000 transplant operations since Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub carried out the first heart transplant at Harefield in 1980. He also performed the world's first double heart and lung transplant in 1983.

Harefield Hospital has the best long-term survival rates in the UK for patients who have had a heart or lung transplant. 

Our facilities

Our dedicated transplant unit consists of two wards, with a total of 34 beds, most of which are in single or double rooms. Patients are admitted for transplant assessment, routine check-ups and unplanned admissions in the event of post-transplant complications (such as infection or organ rejection).  We run a dedicated transplant follow-up clinic – our focus is on enabling patients to live the most normal and active life possible.

Transplant services at Harefield Hospital are supported by our specialist immunosuppression monitoring services, which includes the UK National Monitoring Service for Sirolimus.

Expertise includes:

  • non-heart beating donor lung transplantation
  • experience in performing Heterotopic heart transplantation
  • experience in live-lobar lung transplantation
  • experience of combined heart-kidney transplantation
  • use of mass spectrometry technology for monitoring immunosuppressant drug levels
  • application of plasmapherisis to treat acute antibody mediated rejection in heart and lung transplantation
  • short- and long-term mechanical circulatory support with ventricular assist devices (VADs)
  • application of LVADs to support recovery of the patient’s heart following dilated cardiomyopathy.

Growing lung transplant service

Harefield Hospital's lung transplant service is now the largest in the UK.

Improved methods of handling donor lungs such as ex-vivo organ perfusion (where surgeons can re-condition donor lungs by pumping a bloodless solution containing nutrients, steroids and antibiotics through them inside a protected chamber, outside the body), and the use of non-heart-beating donors, has helped to increase lung transplant activity since 2008. 

The Trust now has the most active lung transplantation programme in the UK, providing approximately one third of the UK's lung transplants during 2010/11. 

Minimally invasive lung transplant surgery

In October 2010, Harefield Hospital was the first transplant centre in the UK to perform pioneering, minimally invasive lung transplant surgery. This type of surgery dramatically improves recovery times and long-term wellbeing. 

The minimally invasive method differs from established methods because it does not require surgeons to cut through the sternum to open the entire chest. Instead, organs are replaced individually via small incisions in the side of the ribcage. The benefits to patients include fewer wound complications and less bleeding, pain and scarring. 

'Live life then give life'

At the age of 21, Harefield Hospital patient Emily Thackray had to wait over 18 months for a double lung transplant. With less than a year to live, she focused on raising awareness to save other people with great success. In 2008 Emily registered her campaign, 'Live life then Give Life', as a charity. In 2009, it was voted Best New Charity of the Year in the Charity Times Awards. 

Referrals

We are reviewing our Lung Transplant web-based referral service. 

The online referral is currently unavailable. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. 

Please use the referral form below to make your referral for assessment for lung transplant and email it to rbh-tr.lungtransplantreferral@nhs.net

Lung transplant referral form (doc, 85KB)

Enhanced care for patients after a lung transplant

Transplant enhanced care (TEC)

A dedicated service is available for patients that have become severely unwell (or developed life-limiting illness) after having a lung transplant.

Experts from lung transplant and supportive and palliative care are joined by specialists from health psychology, occupational therapy and chaplaincy (if appropriate) to give patients and their family all the support they need.

This can include symptom control; practical, emotional, psychological and spiritual support; shared decision making; planning for the future; financial advice; GP liaison and referrals into other services. Help is available for the family and carers too.

Patients are referred by their clinical teams based on a number of pre-determined criteria. Their progress is discussed at a weekly joint meeting with actions being agreed by everyone involved in the caregiving. As a result, patients, families and carers benefit from the input of all the clinicians and support teams concerned.

The service is run under the direction of Dr Anna Reed, consultant in respiratory and transplant medicine, and her colleague Jane Everitt, clinical nurse specialist in transplant supportive care.

For more information please contact Jane Everitt via email: J.Everitt@rbht.nhs.uk.


Transplant services

Harefield Hospital, Hill End Road, Harefield, Middlesex, UB9 6JH
Telephone: +44(0)1895 82 37 37

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