24. 10. 2022

Eight hours was enough to save a life

Fifty-four-year-old Mrs. Lilija from Ukraine struggled with chronic pulmonary hypertension for ten years. Ukrainian doctors treated her with blood thinners, eventually sending her to India for a heart and lung transplant. But a suitable donor was not found. She came to Bohemia during the war. Her worsening state of health eventually led her to the General University Hospital in Prague, where in a few hours cardiac surgeons operated on her pulmonary hypertension with a unique operation and temporary interruption of blood circulation, thus saving her life.

Mrs. Lilija came with her family to the Czech Republic in March, when the war started in Ukraine. She stayed with her son, who has been living in northern Bohemia for several years. Due to her worsening state of health and a lack of medication, the North Bohemian doctors sent the Ukrainian woman to the VFN in Prague for examination. "Ms. Lilija was very lucky that after all the vicissitudes she experienced, she finally got to the General University Hospital. Ten years ago, she suffered a pulmonary embolism, took long-term blood thinners, and Ukrainian doctors even considered a heart and lung transplant. A donor could not be found. Transplantation would not even represent optimal treatment in her case. The patient suffers from chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension, which is a relatively rare disease resulting from pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary embolism is caused by blood clots released most often from the lower limbs or pelvis, which are thrown into the pulmonary arteries. In about 4% of patients, these clots do not dissolve in the further course and permanently narrow or block the pulmonary vessels and lead to pulmonary hypertension, which without treatment has a very poor prognosis. Our center is one of several in Europe dedicated to long-term comprehensive treatment of chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension, " stated the head physician of the Center for Pulmonary Hypertension VFN and the 1st Faculty of Medicine of the UK, prof. MD Pavel Jansa, Ph.D. with the fact that prof. MD Jaroslav Lindner with his team at II. the surgical clinic of cardiovascular surgery of the VFN and the 1st LF started operations in 2004 and since then they have performed almost 450 of them. They provide treatment not only to Czech citizens, but also to patients referred from abroad, especially from Slovakia or Romania.

Mrs. Lilija underwent surgery for chronic pulmonary thromboembolic hypertension at the beginning of October. In order to remove blood clots from the pulmonary vessels and make them passable, the doctors had to connect the woman from Ukraine to extracorporeal circulation and, for a key part of the operation, not only stop the heart, but also the extracorporeal circulation, thereby cutting off the supply of oxygen to the whole body and brain. In order not to damage the patient's brain, they lowered her body temperature to 17 to 20 degrees Celsius by cooling her blood. The unique operation lasted less than eight hours. "I feel good and my breathing is much better. I can finally take a deep breath, which I couldn't before. I look forward to everything being healed and being able to live a normal life with my family again. Thank you to the doctors, hospital staff and everyone who took care of me. I am very grateful to them," added Mrs. Lilija, who, according to the doctors, should return to a full life within a few months.


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