DOCTORS have brought a young girl's heart back to life after removing her donor organ.
Heart transplant patient Hannah Clark, 12, of Mountain Ash, south Wales, had the pioneering operation on February 20 after her body rejected her `piggy-back' heart.
The complicated procedure was carried out by surgeons advised by specialist Sir Magdi Yacoub, who came out of retirement at the request of Hannah's parents, Paul and Elizabeth Clark.
He performed Hannah's original transplant 10 years ago.
That saved her life because she had cardiomyopathy. That made her heart double the size it should have been and likely to give out within a year.
Hannah's donor heart worked fine until November, when it was found that her body was rejecting it.
Her mother said surgeons at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London were at first reluctant to remove the donor heart and reconnect the dormant one because they said it had never been done before.
But weeks later, the transplant team agreed to perform the life-saving operation.
It is understood to be the first operation of its kind on a heart transplant patient in the UK.
Prof Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation, said the operation was an "exciting and important event".
He added: "Surgeons like Sir Magdi have thought for some time that if a heart is failing because of acute inflammation, it might be able to recover if rested."
Hannah has also battled lymph cancer for the past few years, but is in remission after chemotherapy in January.
She is now feeling well enough to contemplate taking part in the Transplant Games this year.