A miraculous heart transplant surgery in east China.
A heart transplant in Fujian Province was successful even though the donor organ had stopped beating for seven hours after being removed from the donor.
Doctors say, normally, a heart cannot be revived if it remains static for over six hours.
A 24-year-old patient surnamed Guan in Fuzhou, capital of eastern China’s Fujian Province, needed a heart transplant due to a worsening blood clot around his heart.
He found a matching donor about a three-hour drive away in the north of the province.
The donor had been pronounced brain-dead from a brain tumor but was still being sustained via a respirator.
On Dec. 3, Guan’s doctor left Fuzhou at 6:00 p.m. to obtain the donor organ.
SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) HUANG XUESHAN, Doctor:
“We arrived at the hospital where our donor was at around 9:00 p.m. The donor’s heart had already stopped beating for about 10 minutes. But we managed to extract the heart in two minutes.”
They immediately returned to Fuzhou and began performing the transplant around midnight.
The operation finished around 2 a.m., but the heart didn’t beat at first.
Around 4 a.m., seven hours after it was taken out of the donor, the heart resumed beating in Guan’s body.
Doctors said it is rare to use a heart that has already stopped beating and has been transported a long distance, but the transplant succeeded because the donor is very young and had a strong heart.
They said though the heart had stopped beating, cold temperatures reduced the heart’s metabolism to a minimum, preserving its energy.
Guan has been recovering well after the surgery.
SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) GUAN, Patient:
“I’m feeling good now. I can do some easy exercises like walking around. I hope I can go home soon and I’m confident that I will.”
Doctors said Guan could be dismissed from hospital in two weeks.
China has around three million patients waiting for heart transplants, but only 250 at most are able to undergo the operation each year.