Response to the world’s first heart-thymus transplant

American doctors from Duke University Hospital in North Carolina have successfully transplanted a heart and thymus into a little boy in their care.

Transplant patients currently have to take immunosuppressants for the rest of their lives to prevent their body from rejecting the transplanted organ.

The thymus helps fight infection, and while more research is needed, this medical discovery shows that future patients with solid organs may no longer need immunosuppressants.

This could improve people’s quality of life after transplantation and increase the likelihood that future patients’ bodies will accept an organ, meaning more lives are saved and improved through donation.

We welcome this breakthrough.

An NHSBT spokesperson said: ‘We are always interested in new developments which may allow more transplanted organs to be accepted. Researchers and clinicians around the world continue to innovate to try to improve life chances for transplant patients and this latest procedure is yet another example of the incredible potential of modern medicine.

“There are around 40 children waiting for heart transplants in the UK and many children with heart disease rely on a young organ donor to save their lives. Without organ donors there can be no transplants, that’s why we need everyone to make their decision about organ donation and inform their family.


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