Project HOPE Celebrates Record Setting Heart Surgery on Newborn in China

MILLWOOD, MD., Feb. 7, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Project HOPE says a baby boy in China is recovering well one month after intricate open-heart surgery which took place within two and a half hours of his birth, making him the youngest patient to undergo such a procedure at the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center, the US-based NGO’s longtime partner.

The medical team, including Chief Pediatric Cardiovascular Surgeon, Zheng JinHao, and cardiovascular surgeon, Dr. Zhu Zhong Qun, performed the 4-hour surgery on baby Xiao Ji to repair his rare and complicated heart disease. The condition is known as total anomalous pulmonary venous drainage, in which the four veins that take blood from the lungs to the heart do not attach normally to the upper left chamber of the heart, but instead attach to another blood vessel or the wrong part of the heart. The baby’s heart disease was diagnosed in utero by pediatric cardiac echo specialists Dr. Zhang YuQi at SCMC when the baby’s mother, Chen Ju, of Zheijiang Province, was 28 weeks pregnant.

The surgery took place after the baby was delivered by cesarean section on January 6 at the Renji Hospital next to SCMC. Right after the delivery, the baby was cyanotic, and tests confirmed his blood oxygen levels were dangerously low. The baby was immediately transferred to the SCMC critical care unit where the cardiac surgery was performed on the newborn.  Following a complex two-hour procedure, the baby’s health improved very soon after surgery.  

SCMC was established with the support of Project HOPE, the Virginia-based international development and relief organization, and its mission of forging lasting health care around the world.

“The exceptionally talented medical team at SCMC made history again by operating on Xiao Ji and Project HOPE is immensely proud to share in this achievement as HOPE has helped train health professionals in pediatric heart surgery and clinical care at SCMC. I am thrilled to report the baby was discharged home in stable condition just 17 days after surgery,” said Lily Hsu, Program Director of Project HOPE in Shanghai.

SCMC is one of the world’s premier pediatric heart centers, performing lifesaving heart surgery on nearly 3,500 children each year.  Project HOPE helped develop the facility, which opened in 1998, and has provided more than $37 million in medical equipment. HOPE continues to support SCMC with at least a dozen training programs for professional health care workers in the areas of critical care, children’s nutrition, patient safety, epilepsy, diabetes, pediatric asthma, cancer care, and medical equipment support. In addition, the USAID-ASHA (American Schools and Hospitals Abraod) program also supported the cardiac center when it opened in 2007 to equip the center with a modern heart-lung perfusion machine, anesthesiology machine, and critical care monitor to strengthen the operating theater and cardiac intensive care unit standards for children with congenital heart disease.  

“This intricate surgery is another indication of how Project HOPE’s mission to support health professionals and facilities like SCMC which offer the gift of life for generations to come,” said Ms. Hsu.

Project HOPE has been involved in efforts to improve the health of communities in China for more than 30 years through a strong partnership with the National Health and Family Planning Commission in addressing needs and advancing health professional training with the support of corporate partners.  China’s large population, diverse demography, and rapid economic development have had a major impact on the needs for and distribution of health care services.   

About Project HOPE

Founded in 1958, Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is dedicated to providing lasting solutions to health problems with the mission of helping people to help themselves. Identifiable to many by the SS HOPE, the world’s first peacetime hospital ship, Project HOPE now provides medical training and health education, as well as conducts humanitarian assistance programs in more than 30 countries. Visit our website and follow us on Twitter @projecthopeorg.    

A photo accompanying this release is available at:

CONTACT: Geraldine Carroll
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