Doctors around the world to be trained in heart and lung transplantation at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital

Leading heart and lung surgeons at the Freeman Hospital will be showcasing their life-saving transplant techniques next week, when they host their first International Teaching Course for Heart and Lung (Cardiopulmonary) Transplantation.

Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital – an internationally-renowned Centre of Excellence for all forms of organ transplant surgery – will welcome over 20 Surgeons from around the world when they attend the course at the Newcastle’s Surgical Training Centre on 2 and 3 September 2014. Some are travelling from as far afield as Brazil and India to meet our transplant experts.

It aims to teach complex techniques in the field of Cardiopulmonary Transplantation and the use of Ventricular Assisted Devices or VADs which are used to keep people alive while they wait for a heart transplant. This unique course gives delegates the chance to witness complex procedures first-hand, and carry out some transplantation procedures themselves using cutting edge simulation techniques.

Prof Stephen Clark, Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon and Co-Course Chairman, explains: “We are delighted to be holding our first International Heart and Lung Transplant Course here in Newcastle. The course has attracted clinicians from all over the world which confirms the international reputation we enjoy in this field.

“The programme we offer has garnered a great deal of interest because it offers the best of both worlds for Surgeons. The opportunity to observe the latest techniques carried out by leaders at the cutting edge of Cardiopulmonary Transplantation, and then to gain practical experience with one to one guidance and direction. This includes Cardiac and Lung Transplantation, implantation of VADs, ex vivo lung perfusion (reconditioning of donor lungs) and ECMO (a treatment that uses a pump to circulate blood through an artificial lung back into the bloodstream).

“This is our first course of this calibre and we hope to continue to invite our international colleagues annually.”

Sir Leonard Fenwick, Chief Executive for the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals says: “We are extremely proud to hold this trailblazing course - the first of its kind in the UK – which offers a superb opportunity to showcase our transplantation expertise to colleagues on an international level. This course follows on from our balloon release celebrations at the Freeman Hospital on Monday, to acknowledge the major milestone of performing over 100 adult congenital heart transplants here in Newcastle. No other centre in the UK has the same expertise in this challenging field of transplantation which means we essentially provide a national service for these patients.”


Interview and photo opportunities will be available during Monday’s celebrations with a member of the Transplantation Course Team, as well as Derek Airey, ex-lung transplant patient and Chairman of the Freeman Hospital Lung Transplant Association. Please ask Lynn Holt, Heart and Lung Transplant Co-ordinator on the day for introductions.

Notes to Editors

  1. The Regional Cardiothoracic Centre was the 3rd transplant centre in England. Over the last 20 years clinicians in Newcastle have pioneered the development of double lung and non-heart beating lung transplant surgery and achieved: 
    1. The youngest patient in the world to receive a Berlin Heart in 2014 (Tiarna Middleton)
    2. The 1st successful infant heart transplant in the UK in 1987 (Kaylee Davison)
    3. The 1st single lung transplant in Europe in 1987
    4. The 1st double lung transplant in Europe in 1990
    5. The 1st non-heart beating lung transplant in the UK in 2002
    6. The 1st successful bilateral upper lung lobe transplant in the UK in 2013 (13 year old boy with Cystic Fibrosis).
  2. Newcastle has the most active cardiopulmonary transplant programme in the UK and rivals major programmes worldwide. We did 99 heart and lung transplants during April 2013 to March 2014, the greatest number since the program began in 1985.
  3. A third of our adult heart transplants are performed in patients with adult congenital heart disease (these are patients who had complex heart surgery when young and need a transplant when adults). As the sole provider of this service nationally, our recipients come from all over the UK. Adult and paediatric surgeons combine to operate on these patients together sharing our expertise in these most technically demanding cases. We are recognised as an international authority in transplants of this type and recently hosted a group from Toronto who wished to learn from our experience for their own programme.