The Star Malaysia
IJN is first to use bio-absorbable heart conduit
KUALA LUMPUR: The National Heart Institute (IJN) has become the first centre in Asia to use the latest technology in treating children with congenital heart defect, following successful implantation of the world’s first ever bio-absorbable heart conduit in three of its young patients this week.
IJN chief executive officer and surgeon Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Azhari Yakub together with consultant cardiothoracic surgeon Dr Sivakumar Sivalingam implanted the device in three congenital heart patients, a procedure which has never been carried out on humans.
The patients, a girl aged eight and two boys of ages four and six, were among the only seven patients in the world to have undergone this surgery.
“This is a new medical milestone for the country, as we at IJN have successfully implanted a new device in our congenital heart patients. It has never been done before in Asia, and only done at two other centres worldwide.
“Some children are born with missing or a very small blood vessel from the heart to the lungs, so it must be replaced with a valve conduit.
“The currently available valve conduits such as the ones from adult donors are unsuitable for our patients aged below 10, while artificial valves made from animals can be problematic as the body may reject them and they also need to be replaced every few years,” said Dr Mohd Azhari.
The bio-absorbable pulmonary valve (PV) conduit, fashioned out of bio-absorbable polymer, was different from other heart conduits available on the market, as the former naturally dissolves in the body over time, leaving in its place a natural tissue valve, he said.
The device helps to reconstruct the right ventricular outflow for children with a missing or defective pulmonary valve, which directs the flow from the heart’s right ventricle to the lungs.
The bio-absorbable PV conduit was rolled out by Swedish-based medical device company Xeltis, with only three centres worldwide handpicked for the clinical trial.
The two other centres where the implantation was performed before were Budapest and Krakow.
Only 12 patients worldwide are gazetted to undergo the implant, with seven patients already successfully operated on and currently showing positive progress.
The three children at IJN who underwent the surgery on Tuesday, Wednesday and yesterday respectively, were kept for observations at the intensive care unit for two days, and are now recovering at the general ward, said Dr Mohd Azhari.