A surgical team at Hamad General Hospital (HGH) recently conducted the country’s first successful trans-catheter pulmonary valve transplant, using robotic surgery, on the heart of an 11-year-old Qatari girl.
This is a breakthrough procedure that can improve life for children with several types of congenital heart defects (those present at birth). Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is one of only a small number of healthcare organisations internationally performing this procedure.
The surgical team was led by Dr Hesham Al Saloos and Dr Magdi Tofeig, both consultant paediatric cardiologists at HMC. The five-hour operation was the first procedure of its kind in Qatar and used minimally invasive techniques, also known as robotic surgery.
Transplanting the trans-catheter pulmonary valve can help delay the need for open heart surgery and improve quality of life for the patient and the use of robotic surgery techniques ensures faster recovery.
Since robotic surgery was first introduced in Qatar in 2008, HMC surgeons have used the technology in more than 40 cardiac operations. HMC is currently the only provider of robot-assisted surgery in Qatar and it is used across specialties including gynaecology, urology and ENT.
Dr Saloos said the young patient was discharged within 24 hours of the successful procedure. He said the new technique meant the need for larger and more invasive surgery was avoided.
“The patient had a severe reflux of the pulmonary valve, and had undergone several open heart surgeries before,” Dr Al Saloos said.
“The pulmonary valve has been replaced by catheterisation to avoid another open heart surgery.”