Our Chairwomans visit to the Royal Brompton

Janka’s visit to the Royal Brompton

In the last issue of the newsletter I mentioned a plan to visit to the Royal Brompton Hospital – to forge closer ties to a hospital that is very dear (and close!) to us. A lot of patients transfer from the RBH to HH after their transplant and while this can be scary and daunting, meeting some of us prior to tx and transfer can lower anxiety levels and spread some positivity and hope on days that we all know can be rather dark.

On Monday May 8th, two days after running 20 muddy miles for a club fundraiser, –  I travelled to the Royal Brompton. The plan was to hand over a cheque, a £2000 donation for a 3D printer.

Unfortunately our club secretary Alan who had the cheque fell ill on the day but have always relied on my German Charme 😉 so just went by myself. I received a very warm welcome from Gill Raikes who works for the RB&H charity and she Introduced me to Mohammed who is leading the 3D printer programme and Dr Tom Semple from Respiratory who is working very closely with Mohammed.

3D hearts



Examples of 3D printing


Together they showed me a video about what this printer can do and then I got to see (and touch!) Some printed samples…a lamb heart, a pig heart and a child’s heart!

Some of you may be familiar with a 3D printer – I wasn’t. I couldn’t imagine what the printed product would look like. But it’s amazing –  it’s a very solid reproduction of a person’s heart. It can be used to use as scaffold which will then be used to “carry” stem cells to grow a heart with your own DNA… no more prednisolone faces!! Or immunosuppressant side effects..?! 😉

A 3D print of your heart can also be used for the surgeons to “practise” for when the OP is rather complicated or they can see if there may be a difficult stage of the OP…all before the patient is on the  operating table so the surgery is much   lower risk.

This is an incredible step for the future and I am extremely proud that we as a club are part of this. The Royal Brompton & Harefield work very closely together and our hospital will benefit greatly by the RBH’s purchase of a 3D printer.

Apart from the printer we talked about the transplant club and what we do and what we are working towards. I showed them the draft of our patients handbook (which has come back with feed-back from HH staff. Thank you so much. We are currently amending the booklet and getting ready for the final version which we can publicise).

Mohammed, Dr Semple and Gill were all very impressed and we exchanged contact details and are now in the loop what each hospital is doing and how we can support each other.