http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4904914.stm Revolutionary heart op for girl Sir Magdi carried out Hannah's original operation A young girl has had her donor heart removed and her own heart replaced and restarted in a pioneering operation 10 years after her original transplant. Doctors at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital acted after discovering the body of 12-year-old Hannah Clark was rejecting her donor heart. Retired coronary specialist Sir Magdi Yacoub advised the surgeons who removed it and reconnected the dormant heart. Hannah, from Mountain Ash in south Wales, left hospital after five days. The ground-breaking surgery was carried out on 20 February. Sir Magdi performed Hannah's original heart transplant when she was two. Heart size doubled The original operation saved her life because she had cardiomyopathy, which made her heart double the size it should have been and therefore likely to give out within a year. Experts said a modern approach to the problem would see the enlarged heart removed to rest, while a mechanical heart took over its job temporarily. Her donor heart worked fine until last November when a routine check-up showed that her body was rejecting it. Hannah's mother, Elizabeth Clark, said the operation, which had been expected to take at least eight hours, was finished in just four. The piggy-back heart allowed the patient's own heart to take a rest Professor Peter Weissberg She said: "They also said she could be in intensive care for weeks, maybe months - they just didn't know because it was the first time it had been done. "Hannah recovered so well she was able to come home within five days. "Nobody thought she would be like she is now. "She is just enjoying her life and is looking forward to going back to school after Easter." Cancer battle Following the operation, Hannah no longer needs to take strong anti-rejection drugs she had to take with the donor heart. She has also battled lymph cancer in recent years but is now in remission following a successful course of chemotherapy in January. Hannah Clark is looking forward to going back to school Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation, described the operation as "an exciting and important event". He said: "Surgeons have thought for some time that if a heart is failing because of acute inflammation, it might be able to recover if rested. "This seems to be exactly what has happened in this case. "The piggy-back heart allowed the patient's own heart to take a rest. 'Surprising result' "Today the approach would be to implant a mechanical heart, called a ventricular assist device, to take over the work of the inflamed heart in the hope that the heart will recover and the device can be taken out after a few months. "Ten years ago such devices were not sufficiently reliable, which is why Hannah received a donor heart alongside her own. "This is a great example of how a pioneering and novel approach to a medical problem can lead to surprising results that tell us a lot about how some heart diseases progress. "In the past, patients with inflamed hearts either died or were transplanted before their own hearts had any chance of recovery."