Saudi hospital transplants heart for Middle East’s youngest patient
The pediatric cardiac surgery team at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in Riyadh succeeded in performing two heart transplants on two girls, one of whom was younger than eight months old.
The surgery was performed within a record time of no more than 24 hours and that was after months of relying on an artificial pump, due to the lack of donors.
The Pediatric Cardiac Surgery team at the Specialty was able to move to Mecca to remove the heart of a deceased donor and return it to Riyadh.
The King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center team was able to transplant the heart of a 19-month-old Saudi girl, bypassing all logistical challenges, in cooperation with the air medical evacuation of the Saudi Ministry of Defense.
The surgical team was able to move to the Emirate of Dubai within 24 hours, to perform a heart removal operation from a deceased donor in the UAE, and transplant it in Riyadh to an Emirati girl who did not exceed eight months.
This Surgery was after the completion of coordination and regular procedures, approvals from the donor’s relatives, and air medical evacuation of the Ministry of Defense.
The Emirati girl is the youngest case to undergo a heart transplant in the Middle East after it was the smallest case of a heart transplant previously registered in the name of the infant Gem (11 months) at the Specialty Center last year 2021.
The two operations were performed for the two girls, successively, in the Riyadh speciality. Performing such operations requires highly experienced human cadres and advanced medical infrastructure, which is available in the speciality.
The condition of the two girls is witnessing continuous improvement after the transplant procedure, and they are currently undergoing periodic medical follow-ups, after they were in a critical condition before the transplant, as a result of severe heart failure.
The heart transplant program for children and adults at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center (KFSHRC) is the largest in the Middle East and achieves results similar to the results of heart transplants achieved globally.
This is consistent with the hospital’s mission to provide the highest quality healthcare and experience for patients.
Recently, the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre (KFSH&RC) in Jeddah performed brain surgery using an automated robot. This reduced the risks and consequences of traditional surgeries that accompany each operation.