A LITTLE girl has become Britain’s youngest double-lung transplant patient.

Imogen Bolton from Brighton received her new lungs when she was just five months old and is making a fantastic recovery back to being chirpy and full of smiles.

The youngster was diagnosed with the rare illness Alveolar Capillary Dysplasia (ACD), meaning her lungs were not properly formed.

The condition affects just 200 children a year around the world.

Weighing just 9lb 15oz, she underwent a seven-hour operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London.

Experts believe she may be the youngest child in Europe to have ever had the surgery.

Imogen appeared healthy at birth but developed a respiratory infection when she was a few weeks old.

She was admitted to hospital several times with breathing problems and at one point her condition deteriorated rapidly and she needed urgent treatment to help her breathe.

Tests diagnosed ACD and Imogen was put on the transplant waiting list, despite very low odds a suitable donor would be found.

However a week later, the family heard of a match.

Imogen’s mother, Hayley, 30, said: “It all happened so suddenly. We knew most children needing organ transplants spend weeks and months waiting, and some never get the call.

“After the complete emotional rollercoaster we had all been through, it was a huge relief to see things heading in the right direction.

“The difference was amazing and a few weeks after the transplant Imogen was back to her usual chirpy self with a smile for everyone and was back on solid food as we tried to get her weight back on.”

After months in hospital, Imogen, now nearly one, has been discharged and is back home. She returns to GOSH for regular clinic check-ups.

Helen Spencer, respiratory paediatrician and clinical lead for Great Ormond Street Hospital’s lung transplant service, said: “Imogen was born with a very rare lung condition that would have proved fatal without urgent lung transplant surgery.

“As she was so small the surgery was particularly complex but she has bounced back and it’s fantastic to see her doing so well.

“The reality is that Imogen wouldn’t be here today if the donor family hadn’t made the decision to donate and we are all hugely thankful to them.”

Last year 15 children across the UK died while waiting on the list for a suitable donor organ.