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Doctors unveil success of first heart pump implant in Vietnam

Doctors unveil success of first heart pump implant in Vietnam

Thursday, June 26, 2014, 16:16 GMT+7

Vietnamese and Australian doctors have just announced the success of their heart pump implant performed on a local man in early June with the involvement of a 50-member operation team, the first-ever case in Vietnam.   

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The implant was completed without any complications after five hours on Hoang Xuan Bien, 39, at the Hue Central Hospital on June 6, said Dr. Dang The Uyen, head of the infirmary’s cardiovascular anesthesiology department.

More than 15 days after the operation, Bien, a native of central Quang Binh Province, has totally recovered and he may be discharged in days to come, Dr. Uyen said on Monday.

For the first time in Vietnam, a group of Vietnamese doctors, with the support of their counterparts from Saint Vincent Hospital in Australia, have successfully implanted a HeartWare heart pump, a ventricular assist device, next to the heart of a patient, Dr. Uyen added.

Before the surgery, Bien was in the final stage of dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart becomes weakened and enlarged. As a result, the heart cannot pump enough blood to the rest of the body, doctors said.

Two days after his surgery, Bien was able to sit up in bed and drink some milk, and could breathe without a respirator, doctors said.

After the implant, the volume of blood pumped by the heart (the cardiac output) of Bien increased from two liters per minute to four liters per minute, they said.

The electric power for the heart pump is supplied by a device outside the body of the patient, so doctors will give Bien necessary instructions so that he can operate the device effectively and safely, doctors said.

The successful implant has brought hope to other patients who suffer from heart failure, said Prof. Dr. Bui Duc Phu, director of the hospital, who chaired the transplant that involved 50 doctors, nurses and other health workers.

Patients who are fitted with a HeartWare heart pump can live and work nearly the same as healthy people, Dr. Phu said.

“We have yet to calculate the actual cost of such an implant. It may be very high,” he added.

Bien’s implant is part of a state-level research program licensed by the Ministry of Health and funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology so he was exempt from any surgery cost, he explained.

“In the U.S., thousands of such implants are performed every year, while in Japan, the figure is about 200. In Southeast Asia, much fewer cases have been recorded so far. Last year, only 12 implants were performed in Singapore and another four cases were reported in Malaysia,” Dr. Phu said.

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