The Heart Institute of Ukraine’s Ministry of Health reported on Monday that a successful heart-transplant was performed in Kyiv on a 6-year old girl despite the ongoing war and the constant threat of Russian missiles.
The three-hour surgery, which was performed on Sunday night, gave the girl a boy's heart, who had been declared brain-dead by doctors after an aneurysm.
The institute reported that this was the first heart transplant performed in Ukraine for a child so young.
The operation was unique because both the recipient and donor were very young, and it required more effort on the part of the doctors.
The team of doctors was led by Dr. Boris Todurov who is the chief scientist at the department for minimally invasive and surgical treatment.
Todurov wrote on his Facebook page that the surgery went well and the girl was extubated within two hours.
The Heart Institute has released photos from the operation, showing the mother of a boy whose donated heart stood by the bedside of the girl.
In an emotional Facebook post, Oksana Dimytrieva, the chairman of the Ukrainian parliament's subcommittee for modern medical technology and transplantation, stated that the operation had gone well and that the new heart was beating in the girl’s chest.
She added, 'I have tears in my eye from this picture.'
Three more organs from the boy - two kidneys, and a liver- were donated to two other children in Kyiv at the National Children's Hospital "Ohmatdyt."
Two kidneys were donated to a 12-year old boy in the occupied area of Kherson. The hospital posted on Facebook that the boy had been waiting more than three years for a kidney transplant and was living in Ohmatdyt. A 15-year old boy from Kirovohrad was also given a liver transplant.
"Many thanks to parents of the little Angel, who did an extremely noble deed in this very difficult time for family! "May the little Angel rest in peace. I wish the patients a quick recovery, as they have a chance to live a full and happy life.
Dmytrieva stated that transplants could not take place without relatives of donors taking the decision to'save the lives of those they don't know after losing a beloved one'. This is the highest expression of humanity. Particularly when it comes to losing a child.
Heart surgery in wartime
The Heart Institute reported that 23 heart transplants were performed in Ukraine during the war so far this year.
The institute said on Monday that if an operation has already begun and the air raid system is activated, it cannot be stopped and will continue, even if an attack is launched on the city.
The team of doctors will wait until the air raid sirens stop before starting the operation if the operation hasn’t begun.
In the early part of this year, Kyiv's air defenses were less effective, so all patients were taken to a bomb shelter that was specially equipped.
The Heart Institute reported that those who were able to move on their own went out, while staff helped those who couldn't.
Only patients in the intensive-care unit could be moved. The doctor on duty, and other medical personnel, would remain with them.
The Heart Institute purchased generators to continue operations during blackouts. It also has an independent water supply.
The institute reported that during the war it saw more patients with cardiovascular disease and chronic diseases worsening due to stress.