Despite the pandemic, 2020 was one of the busiest years in the UK for heart transplants in children. Until February 2020, almost all pediatric heart transplants at Cambridge's Royal Papworth Hospital came from patients who had suffered brain death and whose hearts would continue beating. But last February, the hospital collaborated with London's Great Ormand Street Hospital to extend a method that could retrieve and transplant hearts that had been allowed to stop beating on their own to children. Through a special device, surgeons can effectively restart the heart and keep it healthy until it gets transplanted. Fourteen-year-old Freya Heddington from Bristol was the first to get such a heart, after a wait that lasted two months instead of two years. Freya's father, Jason, says their family will never forget the people, and the machine, that saved Freya's life. "Freya needs medication on a daily basis, and there are hospital visits. It'll always be in the back of our minds," he said. "But we know now she's got a lovely, healthy heart and her future is bright." In 2020, 32 pediatric heart transplants were carried out in the UK -- the second most in a decade. Six of them were of this new method.

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