Boy moving around one week after getting new heart

Local | Stella Wong Jun 19, 2017
An 11-year-old boy who received a heart transplant after a year's wait is already able to eat and move around a week after the surgery, his doctor said yesterday.

The boy, Tang Kai-him, who suffered from heart failure since 2014, received a new heart last Monday. The news was announced over the weekend.

Queen Mary Hospital chief executive Luk Che-chung said yesterday: "We are quite happy as there was finally a suitable heart for Tang. We are also very grateful for the decision of the donor's family as it is also sad for them to lose their loved one."

Luk said Tang's condition is stable.

"Tang can now move around and eat," Luk said, adding the boy has to be very cautious of his diet.

Luk said Tang is taking anti- rejection medication and he would pay attention to any trace of complications in the first two weeks after the surgery. Tang has started rehabilitation, which would normally last several months for an adult.

Tang showed symptoms of heart failure in December 2014. He was transferred to Queen Mary Hospital in October 2015 with breathing difficulties, and was confirmed with dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart is enlarged and cannot pump blood efficiently.

His condition kept worsening - once with only 9 percent of his heart functioning. He was transferred to the intensive care unit last August, and became the youngest patient in the hospital put on a ventricular assist device.

Last October, Tang's doctors and mother had appealed to the public for a heart donation, since Tang was suffering life-threatening heart failure and required a heart transplant.

After waiting for eight months, the boy finally received a heart last Monday in a 10-hour operation.

Tang's mother said Saturday that she received a phone call from the hospital last Monday midnight, telling her that there was a suitable heart for her son.

"I was was very emotional upon hearing the news as we had waited for a very long time," she said.

She was very grateful to the donor and family and hoped more people will support organ donation.

"[Organ donation] did not only save Tang, it also saved me and my whole family," she said.

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June 2017