Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – 9, January 2023: King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre's (KFSH&RC) pediatric cardiac surgery team successfully performed consecutive heart transplants on two children within 24 hours in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Before the surgeries, the transplant recipients – an Emirati girl aged less than eight months and a 19-month-old Saudi girl – were in critical condition due to heart failure necessitating the installation of temporary artificial pumps. The girls were also placed in intensive care units while awaiting transplants
The transplants required highly qualified professionals, advanced medical infrastructure, and international logistical support and cooperation. For the first surgery, KFSH&RC's surgical team travelled to Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), to perform a heart removal surgery on a deceased donor.
The Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation, the Saudi Ministry of Defense's aeromedical evacuation team, and UAE's National Centre for Regulating Donation and Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissue played instrumental roles in facilitating the expeditious travel and logistics between Dubai and Riyadh. As a result of the successful transfer and surgery, the Emirati transplant recipient, who is less than eight months old, has become the youngest child in the Middle East to undergo a heart transplant.
As for the second surgery, KFSH&RC's surgery team, in cooperation with the Saudi Ministry of Defense's aeromedical evacuation team, traveled to Makkah Al-Mukarramah to remove the heart of a deceased donor, which was then transported and transplanted in 19-month-old patient, based in Riyadh.
After the procedures, both girls' condition has been steadily improving, and they are monitored via regular medical check-ups by KFSH&RC's multidisciplinary and highly-specialized team.
The Organ Transplant Centre for children and adults at KFSH&RC is the largest in the Middle East. The centre's achievements are at par with the global benchmarks, and since its establishment in 1988, the centre has successfully performed over 431 heart transplants.