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Baby’s heart transplant makes history

Slovak doctors successfully transplanted a heart for a baby just ten weeks old – making the infant the youngest patient to ever undergo such a surgery in Slovakia, Pavol Kunovský of the Children’s Cardio Centre of the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases told the ČTK newswire.

Event for patients of the Children Cardio centreEvent for patients of the Children Cardio centre (Source: TASR)

Slovak doctors successfully transplanted a heart for a baby just ten weeks old – making the infant the youngest patient to ever undergo such a surgery in Slovakia, Pavol Kunovský of the Children’s Cardio Centre of the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases told the ČTK newswire.

“The baby boy is well and is no longer using the artificial respirator,” Kunovský, the deputy head of the Institute, stated, adding that the doctors needed to react to the infant’s symptoms of serious heart failure by performing this surgery.

The number of heart transplants in Slovakia has been variable; 22 patients, mostly adults, underwent this surgery in 2007. Kunovský said that less than ten children have received heart transplants since 1998. The Children’s Cardio Center has undertaken some delicate surgeries in the past as it replaced part of a child’s heart with a mechanical device and removed a rare tumour from the heart of a four-day old newborn.

The Children’s Cardio Centre also received wide public attention when Slovakia’s former health minister, Ivan Valentovič, attempted to make it part of the Bratislava Children’s University Teaching Hospital. The Cardio Centre’s doctors and administrators as well as parents of some of its patients protested, claiming that this would negatively affect the quality of the Centre’s specialised treatment. The Ministry of Health subsequently agreed to a compromise in which the Children’s Cardio Centre was made a part of the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases on January 1, 2009.

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