A WORLD famous Cambridgeshire heart and lung transplant hospital is celebrating a 25 year milestone. Papworth Hospital will today (Monday, April 20) be marking the 25th anniversary of the start of its heart-lung transplantation programme. A special event

Photo courtesy of Philip Mynott

A WORLD famous Cambridgeshire heart and lung transplant hospital is celebrating a 25 year milestone.

Papworth Hospital will today (Monday, April 20) be marking the 25th anniversary of the start of its heart-lung transplantation programme.

A special event is being held at Robinson College in Cambridge where the UK's first successful heart-lung transplant was carried out in April 1984 by Professor John Wallwork.

The patient was 36-year-old Brenda Barber who recovered well and went on to a live a full and active life for a further 10 years.

"This is a landmark year for us," said Professor Wallwork, head of cardiothoracic surgery at Papworth Hospital. "We've come a long way since the first heart-lung transplant. In 1984 heart-lung transplantation was very much in its infancy and there were only a handful of services in the world.

"In the past 25 years we have seen major developments in the way we preserve the heart and lungs for transplantation and significant steps to ensure the organs are not rejected by the patient.

''Heart and lung failure is the biggest cause of illness and death in our country. We want to use this landmark to promote and encourage as many people as possible to register as an organ donor".

The event will also look at future scientific developments in heart-lung transplantation and be opened by Rt Hon Andrew Lansley, CBE, MP for South Cambridgeshire and Shadow Secretary of State for Health. It will bring together the great pioneers in the development of heart-lung transplantation including Professor Bruce Reitz from Stanford University Medical Centre, California who performed the world's first successful heart-lung transplant in 1981, assisted by Professor Wallwork, and Sir Terence English KBE, who performed Britain's first successful heart transplant at Papworth Hospital in 1979.

Also attending will be transplant patients including Tineke Dixon who was just 16-years-old when her heart-lung transplant was carried out by Professor Wallwork in 1988.

Always poorly as a child, Tineke spent time in the library instead of playing outside with her friends. Tineke said: "My transplant not only saved my life, it changed my life. I was just trying to survive and didn't know my potential. The timing was so fantastic. At the end of my teenage years when the energy kicked in, it just catapulted me forward. I was able to make choices about what I wanted to do."

Now married and living in Devon, Tineke obtained a PhD from Clare College, Cambridge and works for the South West Strategic Health Authority.