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SNUBH doctors give new chance at life to Cambodian baby
  • By Constance Williams
  • Published 2017.09.26 13:38
  • Updated 2017.09.26 13:38
  • comments 0

A 10-month-old Cambodian baby who had difficulty breathing from a congenital heart disease received a new chance at life after undergoing surgery and treatment at Seoul National University Bundang Hospital분당서울대병원(SNUBH).

On May 20, the hospital (President Chun Sang-hoon전상훈 organized a team of 15 medical professionals, including Professor Im Chung임청 of Surgery Department of Thoracic Surgery, to launch the sixth medical service corps for Cambodian children with congenital heart disease.

SNUBH, which has provided medical service every year since 2014, not only provides medical equipment and supplies needed for cardiac surgery to local hospitals but also is working on a project that will help local people treat heart disease on their own through educating them.

This year, the hospital encountered a 10-month-old baby called Hengmolkat who was suffering from a rare heart disease called "Anomalous Left Coronary Artery from the Pulmonary Artery" (ALCAPA) and decided to support her surgery in Korea.

ALCAPA is a complex disease, in which the coronary arteries that supply oxygen and nutrients to the heart are connected to the pulmonary artery, not the aorta that supplies clean blood, rich nutrients, and oxygen. ALCAPA causes difficulty breathing due to the inadequate supply of nutrients and oxygen; a terrible disease that leads to death by more than 90 percent before the first year of life.

Hengmolkat’s mother holds her baby, who was given a new chance at life thanks to doctors at Seoul National University Bundang Hospital.

Hengmolkat, who was suffering from this rare illness that is hard to identify even in Korea, went to various hospitals in Cambodia but could not find any cure in the country. In the meantime, with the help of the overseas medical service team and the medical staff of SNUBH in August, the baby could finally come to Korea for the examination before an operation.

From the time she arrived in Korea, Hengmolkat was in poor conditions, including high fever and elevated liver enzymes, while Hengmolkat's heart was much bigger than a normal heart to live on its own and the left lung was depressed. Hengmolkat returned to Cambodia on Monday, with a healthy heart and a new life.

"There was a lot of difficulty in the operation of a rare disease called ALCAPA, but fortunately the operation was excellent and successful," Professor Im said, who operated on Hengmolkat. "The child has overcome difficult moments several times, and now it breathes comfortably without oxygen respirator and has regained health."

The baby’s mother said, "I had no dreams and no hope when I saw my baby struggle every day. But now, I am obliged to live because of the help of the doctors at Seoul National University Bundang Hospital."


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