Infant‘s heart donation saves another baby
By Kim Bo-eun
This is a story about angels.
Doctors said Friday they have successfully carried out a heart transplant from a four-month-old infant who died from encephalomeningitis, a type of brain illness, to an 11-month-old baby girl who was suffering from a heart disease.
According to professor Seo Dong-man from Konkuk University Medical Center who led the surgery, the five-hour-long operation took place on April 13. The 11-month-old girl surnamed Lee is recovering and soon will be moved from the intensive care unit to the general ward.
Seo said the surgery was successfully done and there will be more tests to ensure that the 4-month-old heart is not rejected by the baby girl’s body.
The heart that was transplanted into Lee was 30 percent the size of her own.
Lee had been suffering from dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart becomes enlarged and the efficiency of heart functions such as ability to pump blood decreases.
The amount of blood pumped by the girl’s heart was only 15 percent of a healthy infant’s.
Fortunately enough, Lee was able to get a healthy heart, but it was a difficult decision to make for Lee’s mother.
This was because of the immense pain that the surgery would cause her daughter. However, the 26-year-old mother said it was the only way her daughter would be able to lead a healthy life. She ultimately chose to permit the surgery.
She was also fortunate to have a great doctor.
Doctor Seo has performed some 40 heart transplant surgeries for children since 1997. He also possesses the record for having performed a heart transplant surgery on the youngest patient in Korea, a four-month-old baby.