THUA THIEN - HUE — A human heart transplant was successfully performed by Vietnamese doctors from the cardiovascular faculty of the Hue Central Hospital in central Thua Thien- Hue Province on Wednesday.
Patient Tran Duc Mau recovers after being given a new heart at Hue Central Hospital. — VNS Photo Lam Quang Huy
"This is the first ever heart transplant to be performed by local doctors without the support of foreign experts," the hospital's director, Bui Duc Phu, told Viet Nam News yesterday.
Tran Mau Duc, a 26-year-old man from Hue City, underwent a five-hour surgery following one-year of treatment at the hospital. Duc received the heart from a brain dead patient whose family agreed to the donation.
Duc, who was suffering from heart failure, awoke seven hours after the operation, said Phu.
"At present, Duc is recovering well," confirmed Phu, adding that he could sit up and eat soup.
Heart transplants are considered the last resort for patients suffering from late-stage heart failure. Transplants can help to improve quality of life and longevity, according to Phu.
He said that the successful transplant would help create new opportunities for heart patients in Viet Nam, where doctors could perform the surgery at a "much lower cost" than in other countries.
On Wednesday afternoon, President Nguyen Minh Triet sent congratulatory flowers to the medical team in recognition of their success.
There were 15 patients at the hospital awaiting heart transplants in 2010, but finding donors was difficult. Half of them died before suitable donors became available, Phu said.
Health experts have said that very few people voluntarily donated organs like hearts, livers or kidneys in Viet Nam, forcing many patients to go overseas if they needed an organ transplant.
Hue Central Hospital was the first medical centre licensed to perform heart transplants in Viet Nam by the Ministry of Health in August 2010.
Viet Nam's first human heart transplant was carried out at Military Medical Institute 103 with the support of Taiwanese experts in March 2010. — VNS