The transcatheter technique (without the need for open-heart surgery) to close the patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) in a low birth-weight preterm neonate was used for the first time in Greece at IASO Children's Hospital. This is a pioneering technique that has been used in just a few patients at major medical centers in the USA, with only 25 reports published in international scientific journals.
The experienced team of medical specialists of the Pediatric Cardiology Department and the Hemodynamic Laboratory at IASO Children's Hospital, under the direction of Dr Georgios Tsaousis, used the technique with absolute success on a preterm neonate weighing 1,040 g, which, because of the defect, was in respiratory distress and on a respirator. Using state-of-the-art medical equipment, he placed a small closure device through a subcutaneously inserted, very fine catheter in the extremely fragile ductus arteriosus, which is the blood vessel that connects the two major arteries of the body - the aorta and the pulmonary artery – before the baby is born. This method made it possible for the small neonate to avoid the risks and stress that accompany open-heart surgery. The entire procedure took place in the Hemodynamic Laboratory at IASO Children's Hospital, with the help of the Pediatric Cardiac Anesthesia Department, under the direction of Chrysanthos Alexopoulos, and with the surgical services of the Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Department, under the direction of Dr Georgios Sarris.
The clinical status of the newborn, thanks to the tireless care of the Neonatal ICU headed by Dimitris Konstantinou, improved immediately and the neonate was removed from the respirator after a few hours.
Given that congenital heart defects occur in 8 out of 1,000 births, and that the PDA is a relatively frequent but serious condition, particularly in preterm neonates, this new method contributes significantly to reducing the risks of treating the condition with open-heart surgery.
The Center for Congenital Heart Defects at IASO Children's Hospital includes:
- A fully staffed Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Department;
- a Pediatric Cardiology Department;
- a Hemodynamic Laboratory;
- a Pediatric Cardiac Anesthesia Department; and
- an Intensive Care Unit.
In fact, with the cooperation of the Neonatal ICU, the Pediatric and Surgical departments and special associates from all of the pediatric sub-specialties, the Center is able to provide high-level specialized tertiary services to pediatric cardiac patients of all ages, most of whom can be treated optimally and completely cured.