Hannah Clark was two in 1995 when she had surgery to give her a 'buddy heart'. Now the 16-year-old girl from Mountain Ash, south Wales, has had the second heart removed and is able to live her life like any ordinary teenager.
Speaking to the BBC she explains that following the removal of the second heart she feels healthier and has been able to take on a part-time job working with animals, BBC News reports.
In 1994 when she was eight-months-old, Hannah was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy - an inflammation of the heart muscle that impairs the heart's ability to work properly.
Hannah's heart was failing and she needed a transplant. But instead of taking her own heart out, doctors added a new donated heart to her own when she was just two-years-old.
The so-called "piggyback" operation allowed the donor heart to do the work while Hannah's heart rested, CNN reports.
A decade after her first heart transplant and years after surviving bouts of cancer, Hannah Clark's fledgling heart healed itself. Clark recovered so well, that doctors risked reversing her heart transplant in 2006 to save her from Epstein-Barr-virus-associated post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder. Her surgeons report today in the online version of the journal Lancet that Clark is living cancer-free with her original heart alone, ABC News reports.
Meanwhile Experts said Clark's example is encouraging both to doctors and patients.
"It reminds us that not all heart failure is lethal," said Dr. Ileana Pina, a heart failure expert at Case Western Reserve University and spokeswoman for the American Heart Association. "Some heart failure patients have a greater chance of recovery than we thought," The Associated Press reports.
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