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A Saudi surgeon saves a Polish child with a rare heart operation

A Saudi surgeon saves a Polish child with a rare heart operation

Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Khalidi who is acting as a Saudi Consultant Cardiologist at Prince Sultan Cardiology Center was awarded the Polish Medal of Honor after successful surgery to repair more than 16 arteries in a Polish child, in a rare operation worldwide.

Dr. Al-Khalidi is the only consultant in the world who specializes in heart surgery “pulmonary arteries”, and the only one who performs such operations.

In an interview with, Dr. Al-Khalidi explained in detail the beginning of the establishment of a specialized program for children’s heart and arterial operations, and how the Polish child’s condition reached them.

“When I was the head of the Department of Cardiac Surgery in King Abdulaziz City in Riyadh, I established with Dr. Omar Al-Tamimi, a consultant pediatrician and cardiac catheter, after returning from study in America, a program for pulmonary arterial surgery, as this specialty is rare and complex, and there is only one center in America.

Al-Khalidi added that this program is considered the only program in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, noting that news of the program has spread on a global scale.

Al-Khalidi confirmed that in 2008, the first successful operation was performed, and it was published in medical journals, which had a wide response, after which similar cases followed.

This was the only center that performed such operations, and in late 2015 he contacted Al-Khalidi, a professor of pediatric cardiology from Warsaw University, and asked him for a consultation regarding one of his patients, an 11-month-old baby.

The child had been in the intensive care unit since birth, suffering from “arterial tortuosity syndrome” his condition is very critical, and he has not been able to leave the hospital since his birth.

At that time, Professor Al-Khalidi asked about the possibility of operating on him, and after reviewing the pictures and analyzes, I told him that the child’s condition was similar to the cases for which we had an operation.

At that time, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques issued a direct order to urgently transfer the child from Poland to Riyadh, as his condition, which was very dangerous, was received, and he was transferred to intensive care, to undergo a complex repair process in two stages.

In 2016, he returned to Poland in health and safety, and for them, this was a big event, and this is something they did not know about in Europe, and accordingly, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland submitted it to the President of Poland a request for honor on this basis and based on his powers he issued an official medal of honor in the Republic of Poland in the name of Al-Khalidi, and officials in Saudi Arabia were contacted, and the medal was sent to Saudi Arabia.

In the past months, the Polish ambassador to Saudi Arabia coordinated a ceremony at the Polish embassy last Thursday, in the presence of many dignitaries, diplomats, and some representatives at the Heart Center.

The program is in Saudi Arabia

Al-Khalidi confirms that the specialized program for pediatric heart and arterial operations is 100% Saudi, was completely established in Saudi Arabia, and serves Saudi patients, with 5% of patients treated by the program being non-Saudis and from the Gulf countries.

Al-Khalidi explained, “The program is not known by many, and it is not shed light on it and the services it performs, and the efforts were individual, but with the transfer of the program to the Prince Sultan Center, we received greater interest and capabilities, and God willing, it reaches the world, especially as it provides a service to the entire region.”

International requests for treatment in the center

Dr. Al-Khalidi mentioned that there are requests for cases from Belgium and Europe, which are ahead of Saudi Arabia in many ways, but we have advanced them with this specialty, which is considered rare.

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