Saudi doctors perform heart surgery on ‘youngest patient in Middle East’

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Saudi doctors have performed a heart transplant on an eight-month-old girl, claiming she is the youngest patient in the Middle East to have undergone the procedure.

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Cardiac surgeons from the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center (KFSH&RC) operated on the girl, who is from the United Arab Emirates, and a 19-month-old Saudi girl within 24 hours.

Both children were in critical condition due to heart failure, and had to have temporary artificial pumps installed in intensive care while waiting for the surgeries, the hospital said in a statement on Monday.

Donors were found in Dubai and Mecca, and after the two successful procedures, both girls are improving and are being monitored closely.

International cooperation was required to perform the surgeries successfully.

The Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation, the Saudi Ministry of Defense's aeromedical evacuation team, and the UAE's National Centre for Regulating Donation and Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissue all worked together to facilitate the transfer of the donor heart from Dubai.

The Organ Transplant Centre for children and adults at KFSH&RC is the largest in the Middle East.

The center was established in 1988 and has successfully performed over 431 heart transplants.

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