First Pediatric Heart Transplant Center

First Pediatric Heart Transplant CenterFirst Pediatric Heart Transplant Center

The first pediatric heart transplant center will open soon in the country under the supervision of Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, says pediatric specialist Dr. Saeed Mojtahedzadeh.

“The center is currently preparing a register of children in need of heart transplants,” he said on the sidelines of the 11th Congress on Pediatric Common Diseases and Emergencies, IRNA reports.

The three-day congress started on Tuesday at Mofid Pediatric Hospital in Tehran, operating under the auspices of the university. It will address genetic and infectious diseases, disorders associated with digestive system, kidney and glands, rheumatoid and pediatric psychology. Additionally, nine panel discussions and three workshops on parental nutrition or intravenous feeding, child abuse, and child evolution will be held on the sidelines.

“Pediatric heart transplantation is performed sporadically in a number of hospitals in the country, but this is the first time a center has been dedicated to the specialized surgery at Shahid Beheshti University,” noted Mojtahedzadeh, who is also a faculty member at the prestigious university.

Once the children are registered, pre-surgery medical tests and interventions begin and they undergo the transplant within a few months provided a match is found.

“One kid in every 100,000 live births is born with congenital heart defect, 1% of which lead to cardiac dysfunction or pediatric congestive heart failure,” he noted. “Some 90% of heart defects are treatable, and the remaining can be cured via transplantation.”

The most likely causes of pediatric congestive heart failure depend on the age of the child. Neonates and infants younger than two months are the most likely to suffer from congestive heart failure related to structural heart disease.

“Atrial septal defect (ASD), which is a hole in the wall between the two upper chambers of the heart (atria), or atherosclerosis, when the narrowed artery causes damage to the heart muscle, are among the instances of heart defects in newborns,” Mojtahedzadeh said.

 Prompt Evaluation

In these patients, prompt cardiac evaluation is mandatory. Respiratory illnesses, anemia, and known or suspected infection must be considered and appropriately managed.

In older children, congestive heart failure may be caused by left-sided obstructive disease, myocardial dysfunction, hypertension, renal failure, or more rarely, arrhythmias or myocardial ischemia. Illicit drugs such as inhaled cocaine and other stimulants are increasingly precipitating causes of congestive heart failure in adolescents; therefore, an increased suspicion of drug use is warranted in unexplained congestive heart failure.

“Even simple infections such as the common cold during pregnancy could leave adverse effects on a fetus,” Mojtahedzadeh warned, adding that although the number of pediatric heart transplant surgeries in Iran is small, the success rate is rather high.