Record number of heart transplants carried out in Scotland last year
Medics at the Scottish National Advanced Heart Failure Service (SNAHFS) at the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank carried out 40 of the procedures in 2022-23.
The previous record was 34 in a single year, recorded before the service moved to the Clydebank-based hospital in 1995-96.
The Government said the advancements in technology and technique, as well as the Scottish Government change to an opt-out system for organ donation, had led to doctors being able to transplant hearts after the circulatory death of the donor, increasing the number of organs that can be used to save lives and increasing the 90-day survival rate to 95%.
Key to this was the use of a machine described as a “heart in a box” which is used to transport the organ, but continues to pump blood through it, meaning transport can take longer than the previous four-hour target.
Speaking during a visit to the unit on Monday, Health Secretary Michael Matheson said: “It is a remarkable achievement to perform 40 life-saving operations in a year and my thanks go to all the staff at the heart transplant unit for their skill and dedication in making this happen – it is truly life-saving for the patients.
“The unit has gone from strength to strength since its launch more than 30 years ago and with today’s medical advances it is amazing so many people being given a new lease of life.
“We must also remember the donors, and we thank each and every one of them and their families for their gift of life.”
During his time at the hospital, the Health Secretary, flanked by National Clinical Director Professor Jason Leitch, met patients and clinicians.
He told the PA news agency the significant increase had been due to the “skill and dedication” of staff at the hospital, adding: “But alongside that, it’s reflecting the fact that we’re now receiving more donations, which has allowed them to carry out more of what is lifesaving and transformational surgery.”
Mr Matheson met with Megan Geddes, 29, who underwent a transplant in 2022 after suffering from issues with her heart since the age of 13.
“I’m very grateful to have my transplant so young as I was told that I might not have lived past the age of 35, so I’m extremely grateful for this second chance at life. It’s been a big year for me,” she said.
“I am 100% better and appreciate the little things in life, like just singing in the shower.
“When I came round from surgery and had my first echo scan and heard the sound of my new heart beating I couldn’t stop crying.
“It was really emotional just listening to it because I had never heard a normal heartbeat before.
“I think about my donor every day and I am so grateful to them, and to their family for respecting their organ donation wishes.”
Jonathan Dalzell, a consultant cardiologist and the clinical lead at the SNAHFS, said the past year was “a landmark” for the service, crediting the “extraordinary teamwork, expertise and dedication of everyone involved”.
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.