Pioneering child heart surgery performed for first time in Poland

Andrzej Grygiel/PAP

The first ever innovative operation to implant a stent graft that grows together with the child has been performed at the Child Cardiological Clinic at the University Children's Hospital in Krakow-Prokocim, southern Poland.

The low-invasive surgery was performed on a still growing 14-year-old girl due to numerous thoracic aortic aneurysms. A so-called stent graft is an artificial blood vessel implanted into the aorta where the aneurisms, or excessive expansions of the vessel, are occurring. As a result, the aneurism is not exposed to bleeding or rupture, which is a direct threat to life. The stent graft is introduced via a catheter and is later expanded towards the internal walls of the aorta.

According to information made available to PAP, the team under the leadership of Dr Piotr Werynski successfully used the technique to stem multiple aneurisms in the 14-year-old girl.

"An implant of a Valiant Navion stent graft was the only solution for the girl as it was considered too risky to perform classic open-heart surgery," Dr Werynski said after the operation. "On the other hand, taking into account the reduced mechanical durability of the aorta wall, characterised by increased flexibility and ease of getting through to narrow arteries, it was ideally suited to the application of this treatment. It was of great importance to the patient because in children the diameters of these arteries are much smaller than in adults, and the stent graft applied has reserve diameter and will 'grow' with the child."

Welcome to The First News weekly newsletter

Every Friday catch up on our editor’s top pick of news about Poland, including politics, business, life and culture. To receive your free email subscription, sign up today.