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07/07/2018 - 09:31

Hue has made its name on the world map of heart transplant

From the middle of May, the doctors of Hue Central Hospital have continuously made their names on the map of the world in the field of heart transplant. Unlike previous occasions, these across-Vietnam heart transplants were entirely successful thanks to the significant contribution of Dr. Tran Hoai An, M.D, Dean of the Department of Thoracic-Cardiac Surgery, Director of Cardiovascular Center, Hue Central Hospital.

Dr. Tran Hoai An (middle), head of surgery team

Not even the smallest mistake

Being asked about the success of recent across-Vietnam transplants, Dr. An said gently: "Let’s talk more about my colleagues in the center. Without them, I would not be able to perform to the best of my ability. "Listening to Dr. An, I got more curious about the people who could create this wonder right in the first across-Vietnam heart transplant.

More than four years ago, patient T., a 52-year-old patient of Phu Loc district suffered from heart attacks, walking quiveringly. In spite of being poor, patient T. tried to search for a cure everywhere. When he came to Hue Central Hospital, he was diagnosed with heart muscle contraction, if he wants to live, the only solution is a heart transplant. It was a heartbroken conclusion, his family fell into despair because of many factors such as his financial conditions and especially the rare source of organs donated from the National Coordination Center for Organ Transplantation.

In such difficult conditions, Dr. An was always close to give encouragement to patient T. and hoped for a “miracle” for the patient. It was Dr. An who put patient T.’s name on the waiting list for heart transplant of Hue Central Hospital. The waiting days of patient T. was also the time Dr. An nervously waited for the announcement from the National Coordination Center for Organ Transplantation about the heart donors.

The door to life of patient T. began to open for the second time on May 15, when he received information from donated organs from the National Coordination Center for Organ Transplantation about a brain dead donor at Viet Duc Hospital (Hanoi) with compatible indicators. On that same day, Prof. Dr. Pham Nhu Hiep, Director and Chairperson of the Council for Organ Transplantation of Hue Central Hospital monitored Dr. An and his colleagues deployed an immediate action plan to go to Hanoi to assess the compatibility between the source of the organ donated and patient T.

On 16th May morning, it took less than 3 hours to transport the heart to Hue Central Hospital by plane. Right after that, Dr. An headed the heart surgical team together with anesthesia team performed the surgery to remove the damaged heart and transplant the donated heart into patient T.’s body. All were working urgently. The surgery did not allow any mistake to occur, even the smallest.

The total duration of anemia was 5 hours and 30 minutes, within the allowed time of anemia of a heart transplant of 4 to 6 hours. One day after the heart was transplanted, patient T. was extubated, he could breathe normally and have contact with doctors and family members.

Nearly one month after the first “across-Vietnam” heart transplant, Dr. An again successfully performed the second heart transplant on the early morning14/6 in more difficult conditions and challenges. On the previous day (13/6), the National Coordination Center for Organ Transplantation informed that there was a source of organs from a brain dead donor in Viet Duc Hospital that was compatible with patient PVC. (15 years old), who had end-stage heart failure and had been in the waiting list for heart transplant at Hue Central Hospital. Dr. An and his team made a plan to immediately fly to Hanoi in the evening to assess the compatibility between the donor and the recipient.

At this time, Dr. An had to calculate carefully, no error was allowed, even a second, especially in terms of the timeline of the transportation of the heart from Viet Duc Hospital to Hue Central Hospital by plane. Unlike the first time, the distance is longer due to the fact that they had to take the flight to Da Nang which was more favorable for the time of organ harvesting, then the heart was transported by car from Da Nang to Hue at 2:30 am.

Shortly afterwards, Dr. An and his colleagues performed the surgery extremely carefully, until 6 am could they breathe a sigh of relief. At 9 am on the same day, the patient was awake, hemodynamics was stable and was closely monitored. The patient received special care at the Department of Cardiac Anesthesiology, Hue Central Hospital. The transplanted heart functioned well and had an ejection fraction (EF) of 61%.

Recalling the recent two “across-Vietnam” heart transplant, Dr. An shared that the surgeries had lasted many hours with great tension and urgency, requiring the absolute precision in every movement and every stage of the procedure, carried out by dozens of doctors and physicians. These two surgeries have been carried out with the most advanced cardiac transplant technology in the world, which doctors and physicians in Hue Central Hospital could apply on their own without any support from foreign experts.

Embarking on his career path

Not only after two successful "across-Vietnam" heart transplant did people mention the name of Dr. Tran Hoai An. Since 2010, Dr. An has been the leading member of Hue Central Hospital that had carried out successfully two cases of heart transplant known to the world, making the spirit of medicine ethics of Vietnam well-known.

Born in a poor family in the coastal area of Vinh Hien Commune (Phu Loc District), in 1986, just graduated from the Hue College of Medicine and Pharmacy, he spent years as a military physician in Laos and Cambodia. Coming back to his hometown, he joined the Uro-Cardiology Department, Hue Central Hospital and then started to take approach to the field of cardiology.

At this time, people in Vietnam did not dare to think of surgery in general or cardiac surgery in particular due to the limited professional capacity and outdated equipment which could only cure the common surgical disease. Many colleagues at that time thought that he was really unwise as he chose the specialized major, which was not a wide opening door to his future, instead of an easier major. However, Dr. An steadfastly pointed out: "The focus must be on the spearhead major. Without a spearhead, Vietnam will not know about Hue and the world will not know about Vietnam. "

By researching and applying new technology, having the opportunity to meet and exchange knowledge with foreign experts coming to Hue Central Hospital, he could improve his skills as well as his expertise in the field of cardiology. He became more mature and more experienced as he had time to master many of the world's leading cardiovascular intervention techniques in the late 1990s in France.

Dr. An proudly said: "Vietnamese doctors not only are able to integrate with the development of the world medicine but also find new directions, and contribute to the development of cardiovascular medicine".

Currently, in addition to his management job, Dr. Tran Hoai An and his colleagues are mastering the technique of intervention surgery in difficult cases, rare complications, such as coronary artery surgery, replacement of the aortic arch surgery, replacement of aortic valve surgery, single ventricular surgery for infants (weight: 2-2.5 kg) ... with the frequency of 4 to 5 times a day.

For years, Dr. An and his colleagues have been working with domestic and international charities to provide surgical intervention to give healthy hearts to hundreds of poor children and people with heart defects in the remote areas.

Story, photo: Minh Van