A group of doctors saved the life of a two-month-old Spanish girl, thanks to a pioneering surgical operation in which they transplanted a small heart that had stopped beating, from a donor with a different blood type, the Gregorio Marañón Hospital said on Monday.
“It was double magic,” said Juan Miguel Gil Jaurena, head of the children’s heart surgery section at the Madrid hospital, who explained that such techniques did not exist for young children three years ago and had never before been used on such a small baby.
The case opens the way to save more babies who need heart transplants and are too young to use ventricular support devices until they get a compatible donor.
The operation was complicated because the donor was in a hospital in another Spanish region and the heart had stopped beating for a few minutes, requiring a recovery procedure. The hospital did not release details about the donor.
The girl, Naiara, had been diagnosed with congenital heart disease before she was born and weighed just 3.2 kilograms when the intervention was performed.
“It was a new experience for us, because it was the smallest baby we have had to put a heart on and also 24 hours before it had gotten much worse, and if a heart had not reached it, it would probably not be here,” said Manuela Camino, head of the pediatric heart transplant unit.
Naiara is recovering in the hospital.
With 37.4 donors per million inhabitants, Spain was the world leader in transplants last year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) global database on donation and transplantation managed by the National Transplant Organization (ONT) Spanish.
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