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History of successful transplants

A 51-year-old man has become the first person in the UK to have a hand transplant.

The team at Leeds General Infirmary has been working closely with colleagues in Lyon, France, where hand transplants were pioneered in 1998. The first-ever recipient in France was New Zealander Clint Hallam, who later had his new hand removed.

Doctors in the United States, Austria and France have carried out a number of successful hand transplants, giving encouragement to other transplant operations of such organs as the face, abdominal wall or larynx.

The first major organ to be transplanted successfully was a cornea, by Eduard Zirm in Olmutz, Moravia (now the Czech Republic) in 1905. In 1918, blood transfusion became established, and the first successful kidney transplant was in 1954, by doctors in Boston.

The first successful heart transplant was by Dr Christiaan Barnard in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1967, and the first heart then liver transplants in the UK took place the next year.

The kidney donor card was introduced in the UK in 1971. Ten years later, this changed to a multi-organ card including kidneys, corneas, heart, liver, and pancreas.

The first combined heart and lung transplant in the UK took place in 1983.

In 1994, the NHS Organ Donor Register was set up.

In 2005, the first partial face transplant was carried out, in Amiens, France. Isabelle Dinoire, a 38-year-old woman who had been mauled by her dog, was given a new nose, chin and lips.

In 2010, the first full face transplant was carried out, in Barcelona, Spain, on a farmer known only as Oscar who had been injured in a shooting accident. He received the entire facial skin and muscles - including cheekbones, nose, lips and teeth - of a donor.

In March, 2012, US doctors carried out what is said to be the most extensive face transplant ever performed.

The operation at the University of Maryland gave Richard Norris a new face, including jaw, teeth and tongue.

The 37-year-old has lived as a recluse for 15 years after being severely injured in a gun accident.

In October 2006, surgeon Peter Butler at London's Royal Free Hospital was given permission by the NHS ethics board to carry out a face transplant. His team will select four adult patients for operations.

Figures from NHS Blood and Transplant show that in the financial year to March 31 2012, there was an 8% increase in the number of deceased donors, to 1,088, the largest number ever in the UK.

The number of donors after brain death increased by 2% to 652, while the number of donors after circulatory death increased by 17% to 436.

The number of living donors increased by 1% to 1,055; living donors account for half the total number of organ donors.

The number of patients whose lives were saved or improved by an organ transplant increased by 6% to 3,960.

Some 3,521 patients had their sight restored through a cornea transplant, representing a decrease of 1%.

The total number of patients registered for a transplant has fallen slightly, so that there were 7,636 patients waiting for a transplant at the end of March 2012, with a further 2,880 temporarily suspended from transplant lists.

Some 508 patients died while on the active waiting list for their transplant and a further 819 were removed from the transplant list.

The removals were mostly as a result of deteriorating health and ineligibility for transplant and many of these patients would have died shortly afterwards.

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