Dad’s donor heart kept beating in a box for FIVE hours during life-saving transplant operation

A DAD’S new donor heart was kept beating in a box for five hours during a pioneering operation that saved his life.

Transplant patient James Walton, 34, is only the third person in the UK to undergo the procedure.

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A weak but relieved James Walton recovering in hospital after his pioneering heart operation[/caption]

The donor heart was kept beating in a see-through box for five hours, before being implanted in James’ body

A genetic condition had left him with heart defects and when its main artery burst, joiner James was told only a new organ would save him and he was put on the urgent transplant list.

Just five days later a match was found and James was rushed from his home in Stoke-on-Trent to hospital in Birmingham.

Surgeons removed the donor ticker, keeping it alive in a special see-through Heart in a Box.

The organ is kept beating with a battery-operated pump and tiny electrical shocks, and has supplies of oxygen, blood and drugs to simulate conditions in the body.

Usually transplant organs are kept on ice to preserve them for a limited time, which pits surgeons against the clock.

But the revolutionary method that saved James keeps the heart in better condition for longer, lowering risks for the patient.

He is now back home with wife Kat and three-year-old son after his 12-hour operation five weeks ago.

He said: “As soon as I woke up I felt like a new person. I’ve been given a second life.

Most importantly I can spend time with my little boy.”

James was born with Marfan Syndrome which led to major heart surgery, including having a pacemaker fitted.

JCB factory worker Kat, 33, said: “James couldn’t walk more than 100 yards. He couldn’t play football or go to the park with Jack.

Now he can chase his son around. Jack has got his daddy back.”

The op, by surgeon Majid Mukadam, was the first of its kind at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

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On his feet again, James and his wife Kat, 33, could not be happier with his new heart[/caption]

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Surgeon Majid Mukadam performed the transplant, only the third of its kind undertaken in the UK[/caption]

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Happy to be alive, James looks stunned to be on the road to recovery following the life-saving op[/caption]

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