Transplant girl, 1, returns home after four months being kept alive on series of mechanical heartsHeart stopped day after operation and she went into cardiac arrestLlana Qazi had to stay in hospital for another three monthsShe spent her first birthday in isolation
12:52 GMT, 6 June 2012
A baby girl who waited months for a heart transplant has finally been allowed to return home.
Twelve-month-old Llana Qazi was diagnosed last October and then kept alive by five different mechanical hearts because doctors in Tyneside could not keep her stable.
Her family faced an agonised four-month wait until Llana was operated on at the end of February.
Terrifying: Llana Qazi relied on a series of mechanical hearts to keep her alive after doctors found she had a murmur on her heart
Complications during surgery meant it
was then another three months before she was reunited with her anxious
parents and siblings at their home in South Shields.
Her family are now planning family trips and a party to celebrate.
Overjoyed: The one-year-old has now been reunited with her family at their home in South Shields
When baby Llana began struggling to sleep and feed properly in September, her concerned mother, Shaz, 39, took her to the doctors.
Tests at South Tyneside District Hospital revealed she had a murmur on her heart and she was transferred to Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital for specialist treatment.
There she was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, which affects the heart muscles and meant her heart was not strong enough to work on its own.
Mrs Qazi and her husband Muhammed, 47, were told Llana urgently needed a heart transplant.
While the family faced a terrifying wait, Llana was put on a Berlin Heart – a machine that helps the left side of the heart pump blood around the body.
She required a further four artificial heart machines as doctors could not keep her stable.
The family waited desperately for news of a donor, and their prayers were answered on February 29 when they received a call that a suitable heart had been found.
But doctors warned Llana had a 50/50 chance of survival.
The operation was an initial success but Llana’s life hung in the balance after her new heart stopped for 63 minutes a day after the transplant.
Llana’s lungs collapsed and she went into cardiac arrest. She was also placed in isolation more than once after her rejection levels soared sky-high.
Agonising wait: Llana was at the top of the emergency transplant list for four months
After spending three months recuperating on the Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital, she has now returned home and can get to know her five brothers and sisters – Zermeen, 13, Ahmed, 14, Maria, 19, Jassan, 20 and Saad, 22.
Heartwarming: Parents Shaz and Muhammed are delighted to have their little girl safely back at home
Her mother said: 'It’s just lovely to be home. We’ve waited a long time – and maybe now we can properly plan a party for her.
Mrs Qazi gave up her job as a chef and has been at her daughter's bedside every day since llana was hospitalised, staying in parents’ accommodation at night and seeing the rest of her family on Saturdays.
In April Llana had to be transferred to the RVI to fit a tube in her stomach when she fell ill.
Her family had planned to throw a party on the ward for her first birthday last month, but it had to be cancelled when she was placed in isolation again.
Mr Qazi, a self-employed builder, is
looking forward to having his wife and daughter back for family trips
and getting back to normal life.
Qazi said: 'I’m a little bit nervous but just glad to be back at last.
Everything is all upside down for us but we’re getting there.
let us take her home for a long weekend over the bank holiday as a
trial run but we had to go back in.
'Then they carried out an echo test
on her heart and some blood tests to check her rejection levels, and
then we could go home.
Complications during surgery meant the baby girl's lungs collapsed and she went into cardiac arrest
Llana's family cannot wait to get back to doing normal things together. Pictured, mother Shaz and siblings Ahmed, Zermeen and Maria
'More than anything we’ve wanted to take her out to the beach in a buggy, just like a normal family, so being able to do that was a real treat.
'Everybody has been so excited to have her home, but she has been so very tired.'
The family will take part in the Great North Run to say thank you to the team of medics who saved their daughter’s life.
Mr and Mrs Qazi and sons Jassan and Saad will run to raise funds for the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF).
Mrs Qazi added: 'We just want to say thank you to CHUF and plan to do the run each year – maybe one day Llana will be able to join us.'