Baby girl becomes first child in UK to be fitted with portable heart pump

Baby girl becomes first child in UK to be fitted with portable heart pump – and that means she can now go outside while waiting for a transplant

  • Grace Westwood is the first child in the UK to be fitted with a portable ‘Berlin Heart’ pump
  • 18-month-old has a heart muscle disease called dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Equipped with a pump last month and can be taken outside in her stroller
  • Became seriously ill in March 2020 and traveled over 200 miles in May
  • Traveled to Newcastle from home in Birmingham for specialist treatment










A girl aged just 18 months is the first child in the UK to be fitted with a portable ‘Berlin Heart’ pump as she awaits a transplant.

The life-saving machine means Grace Westwood, who suffers from a heart muscle disease called dilated cardiomyopathy, can now walk outside in her stroller.

Before Grace was fitted with the pump last month, she couldn’t spend much time away from her ward at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.

Grace Westwood, just 18 months old, who suffers from a heart muscle disease called dilated cardiomyopathy, is the first child in the UK to be fitted with a portable ‘Berlin Heart’ pump while waiting for a transplant (Photo: Grace with his mother Becci)

The previous machine was heavy and its batteries only lasted half an hour, but the new one has a runtime of up to eight hours.

Grace first fell seriously ill in March 2020 and was airlifted more than 200 miles from her home in Birmingham to Newcastle for specialist treatment in May of the same year.

Last month she was fitted with the new pump.

Her father, Darren Westwood, said it would make a huge difference in their lives.

The life-saving machine means Grace can now be taken outside in her stroller, but before she was fitted with the pump last month, she couldn't spend much time away from her duty at the Newcastle Freeman Hospital.

The life-saving machine means Grace can now be taken outside in her stroller, but before she was fitted with the pump last month, she couldn’t spend much time away from her duty at the Newcastle Freeman Hospital.

The previous machine was heavy and its batteries only lasted half an hour, but the new one has a runtime of up to eight hours.  His father, Darren Westwood, said it would make a huge difference in their lives

The previous machine was heavy and its batteries only lasted half an hour, but the new one has a runtime of up to eight hours. His father, Darren Westwood, said it would make a huge difference in their lives

He said, “We can take him to the playroom and we don’t have to cut our time. It’s the little things that he’s missed – touching the grass, listening to the birds singing, seeing family properly rather than through a window, and that’s what we look forward to – although we still have to be careful.

Her mother, Becci Jones, said, “She leads as normal a life as possible and is amazing on her own. She loves everything and everyone and while you have to be careful with her she tries to walk she is chatty and smiling all the time.

The award-winning new pump, the size of a small suitcase, was developed by the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Newcastle, in collaboration with German collaborators, including the Berlin Heart company.

Consultant Dr Emma Simpson, Freeman Hospital, said: “With the new device, we have a much better quality of life and better independence.”

The award-winning new pump, the size of a small suitcase, was developed by the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Newcastle, with German collaborators including the Berlin Heart company

The award-winning new pump, the size of a small suitcase, was developed by the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Newcastle, with German collaborators including the Berlin Heart company


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