A NORTH-EAST teenager who was the youngest patient in the world to be given an implantable heart pump was allowed home last night after a successful transplant.

Last night, Andrew Ames’ heart specialist, Dr Richard Kirk, said “the transplant had come in the nick of time”.

The new heart, which came from an unidentified donor somewhere in the British Isles, was transplanted into Andrew in July, but doctors have only just revealed how well he is doing.

Dr Kirk said the new heart was working “beautifully” and Andrew had done so well that he was allowed home last night.

The Gateshead youngster, who will be 14 next week, grabbed national headlines in April when it was revealed that he was the youngest to be connected to a tiny, but powerful, implantable heart pump.

Without the Heart Ware pump, which took over the work of the diseased left side of his heart, Andrew would probably have died on Christmas Eve last year.

Andrew’s heart failed because of an inherited condition that claimed the life of his brother and may have caused his sister to be stillborn.

When he was fitted with the Heart Ware pump on Boxing Day it was the first in the world to be given to a teenager.

At the time, about 20 adult patients had been fitted with the pumps and a total of about 400 worldwide. The pumps support patients until they either recover from heart disease or they receive a donated heart.

Dr Kirk said: “The new heart had come just in time because while the pump supported the left side of Andrew’s heart, his right side had begun to fail. Time was running out and the donor heart came in the nick of time.”

The cardiologist said the transplant in July was challenging because Andrew’s kidneys did not work very well after the operation.

“They slowed him down for a while, but they have now picked up. Andrew has coped with it all very well and his new heart is working beautifully,”

said Dr Kirk.

Last night, Andrew was back home with his parents David and Alison, both 39.