Baby Dies Waiting For Heart Transplant At Newcastle's Freeman Hospital

10 June 2014, 14:03 | Updated: 11 June 2014, 07:03

A baby from Gateshead, who became the youngest ever to be fitted with an artifical heart, has died.

Tiarna Middleton was just 18 days old when the operation to fit the Berlin heart was carried out at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital.

She passed away waiting for a suitable heart transplant donor.

UPDATED 5th June 2014, 12:10pm

An urgent appeal's been made by doctors trying to save the life of a 15 day old baby at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital.

Tiarna Middleton became the youngest baby in the world to be fitted with a mechanical Berlin Heart at the Children's Heart Unit.

This can act as a second heart until a donor can be found for a transplant.

The heart can only be transported for a maximum of 5 hours, which means the donor must be from Europe.

Tiarna Middleton was born with a rare congenital heart condition.

As a result she was initially kept alive by an Ecmo machine which took over from her heart and was placed on the urgent heart transplant list.

But due to a lack of donors, doctors at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle carried out a painstaking nine-hour operation to fit the device which operates outside the body.

Surgeon Massimo Griselli, who fitted Tiarna with the artificial heart, now hopes it can keep her alive until a donor heart becomes available.

Tiarna was delivered by caesarean section at the hospital weighing 5lb 8oz and doctors soon realised that her coronary arteries had failed to form properly.

The operation came after her parents, Sharney Gray, 22, and Gary Middleton, 25, made a desperate appeal for more people to join the organ donor register.

Other children have previously been kept alive for more than 200 days on the specialist devices, which work by helping the right ventricle of the heart to pump blood to the lungs and the left ventricle to pump blood to the body.