An 11-year-old boy has received a heart transplant after relying on an external mechanical device for more than 40 weeks to support his vital life functions.
Tang Kai-him, who was troubled by a heart failure, underwent a transplant on June 12 at the Queen Mary Hospital after a prolonged wait for suitable organ donor, it was revealed on Monday.
The boy is recovering from the surgery and is expected to be discharged from the hospital in two to three weeks’ time, according to hospital officials.
Tang met members of the media on Monday, along with his doctor and mother, thanking the donor, the medical crew and the general public for their support, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Since the operation on June 12, the boy was able to breathe on his own and can now even stand up with help from medical staff.
Tang had to rely on an external heart pump for 282 days before the operation last week.
He became the youngest patient in the Asia Pacific region to use such a device and 282 days is also the lengthiest period any patient has relied on the device.
The previous record was 250 days involving a patient in Taiwan.
Tang’s mother said she cannot thank the heart donor enough for the kind act, and added that she hopes more and more people will pledge organ donations to save the critically ill.
Dr Lun Kin-shing, a consultant doctor at the paediatric cardiology department of Queen Mary’s Hospital, said he expects Tang to go to school just as any other child.
The boy will, however, have to take some precautions with regard to his diet, avoiding high-risk food items such as Sashimi.
Tang had been relying on external heart pumps to support his heart function since September 2016. He had to undergo seven operations to replace 15 pumps as each could only last for around 40 days.
The boy’s mother said she used to get very anxious each time her son was wheeled into the operation theater.
There was one occasion when Tang’s heart stopped for several minutes during anesthesia, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation was required to revive heart operation.
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