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Andrew McAskie, One Year On after his Heart Transplant

At only 5 weeks old. Andrew McAskie became one of the youngest babies in the UK to have a heart transplant and survive.

Andrew was born weighing a healthy 8lbs 1oz by caesarean on 30th December 2006 but hours later he began to suffer skin discolouration and his heart was shown that it was not pumping properly after an ultrasound was taken.

A heart machine kept Andrew alive for 2 weeks until a suitable heart donor became available from a family in Germany.

The operation was performed at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital where consultant paediatric cardiologist Richard Kirk said “In the UK there has only been one or two younger patients than Andrew, and he is certainly the youngest heart transplant we have done here at the Freeman’s hospital.  “We were very pleased with the outcome”.

Andrew had suffered a heart attack at birth and would have died if the donor heart had not been found in time. 

Jon and Sarah, Andrews parents were utterly devastated by this news and his mother said “the following weeks were a torment.  “I wanted to hold him all the time but obviously I couldn’t because of all the machinery he was attached to”. “It was very hard, you don’t realise how much your hormones affect you when you become a mother – not being able to cuddle him was awful”.

God Made Andrew’s Heart

The McAskie’s went on to say "God has been amazing. He has blessed us and there are so many things that happened that were more than just coincidence.

"At first we thought God made Andrew's heart and God could heal it, so we were upset when we were told he would need a transplant, but then we came to realise that was God's work also."

Almost one year on. Andrew is now a healthy toddler and continues to have his monthly check-ups. He will have to take immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of his life to stop the heart being rejected by his body.  It is also possible that n 12 years time he may well need another transplant.

His development is a bit behind most toddlers his age and although he has full use of his hands, he is not crawling as of yet.  Doctors have said this can be classed is normal when you consider what he has gone through and how well he has come out of.

Jon and Sarah have nothing but praise for the surgeons who saved Andrew’s life, their only child and will be forever grateful to the family of the donated heart.  Sarah said “We think about that donor family ever day and pray for them to have some comfort”. 

Mrs McAskie, a dentist, said: "When I look at him and think there is someone else's heart in there keeping him going, it is mind-blowing.