Hospital Gregorio Maranon announced on Monday that the life of a two-month-old Spanish girl, identified as Naiara, was saved by pioneering surgery when doctors transplanted a small heart that had stopped beating from a donor with a different blood type.
Juan Miguel Gil Jaurena, head of children’s cardiac surgery at the Madrid hospital, said “it was twice the magic,” adding that such techniques did not exist for young children 3 years ago and had never been used previously on a baby so small.
Such surgery paves the way for saving more infants who need heart transplants and are too young to use ventricular support devices until they get a compatible donor.
The surgery was complicated because the donor was at a hospital in another Spanish region and the heart had stopped beating for a few minutes, which required a recovery procedure. The hospital did not reveal details about the heart donor.
Naiara had been diagnosed with a congenital heart disease before she was born and weighed only 3.2 kilograms when the operation was performed.
Manuela Camino, head of the children’s cardiac transplant unit, said “she is the smallest baby we’ve had for a heart transplant, and 24 hours before the surgery her condition worsened a lot. Had she not got a heart (transplant), she would probably not be here.”
The baby girl is currently recovering at the hospital.