KFSH&RC in Riyadh successfully transplants a heart and lungs to a Saudi patient born with heart deformities and puts an end to his sufferings.





The surgical team of King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre (KFSH&RC) in Riyadh specialized in organ transplants put an end to the suffering of a 17-year-old Saudi patient by transplanting a new heart and lungs together in a remarkable operation. This operation was conducted only the second time in the Middle East after 14 years of a similar transplantation by KFSH&RC in 2004.

The 17-year-old patient was suffering from congenital deformities since birth, which resulted in heart and lung failure. The patient constantly needed a high level of artificial oxygen supply, which completely restricted his movements, interrupted his studies, and deprived him of a normal life.

His Excellency Dr. Majid Al Fayyadh, Chief Executive Officer of the General Organization of KFSH&RC-Riyadh, expressed his happiness that the surgical team was successful in performing the very challenging operation efficiently and skilfully and thus saved the life of the patient who was suffering from the life-threatening disease since birth. The success of this operation speaks volumes about the high quality of infrastructure as well as highly skilled surgeons and nursing, pharmacy, laboratory staff, and technicians in the hospital.

The surgical team that performed the operation said that the patient was diagnosed with congenital heart defects since birth. He was operated upon in one of the hospitals in his early childhood. However, his condition deteriorated with the severe increase in pulmonary arterial pressure, leading to his heart and lung failure. Consequently, he was referred to KFSH&RC-Riyadh and following a careful examination, the medical team decided to transplant the heart and lungs to save his life. Coordination was made with the Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation (SCOT) for finding heart and lungs for the patient. When the heart and lungs of a brain-dead donor were found, the surgical team successfully performed the operation that lasted for 7 hours. The surgical team faced several challenges during the procedure; however, they were able to overcome these, as confirmed by them.

The patient was kept in the intensive care unit for a week due to his critical condition, and later he was transferred to the regular floor room. After a month, he was discharged from the hospital following improvement in his condition. The oxygen consecrator device that he always carried over the years was also removed; therefore, he started walking and moving freely. The patient is currently undergoing an integrated follow-up and rehabilitation program in outpatient clinics having cardiologists, lung specialists, and facility of physiotherapy and is leading a normal life.

The surgical team said that the procedure of heart and lungs transplantation together was one of the rarest operations the world over and is performed only in the most advanced medical centers. Reportedly, only one or two such operations are performed in a year.

The surgical team, led by Dr. Fareed Khouqeer, consultant cardiac surgery, and Dr. Waleed Saleh, consultant thoracic surgery and head of Lung Transplantation Program at KFSH&RC-Riyadh, comprised 20 specialists, consultants, nurses and technical staff from the departments of cardiology, pulmonary medicine, anesthesia, nursing, perfusion, physiotherapy, tissue compatibility laboratory, besides the organ transplantation coordinators.