Three-year-old Lev Fedorenk was brought to Chennai as he was suffering from a heart condition, which eventually required a heart pump.

Lev Fedorenk showing thumps up along with a doctor during the recovery process. His mom and dad are also present in the image
news Medicine Monday, July 27, 2020 - 15:57

For the first time in South East Asia, Middle and East Africa, a complicated artificial heart implant procedure using the ‘Berlin Heart’ device was performed on a three-year-old boy from Russia, who had come to Chennai to seek treatment for his heart condition. The seven-hour long marathon surgery was performed on May 25 at MGM Healthcare Hospital in Chennai by a team of doctors led by Dr KR Balakrishnan, Chairman and Director of Cardiac Sciences and Director of the Heart and Lung Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support Program at MGM Healthcare. The child recovered after the surgery and was recently discharged from the hospital.  

Three-year-old Lev Fedorenk, who weighed just 10 kilos at the time of surgery, was suffering from a heart condition called restrictive cardiomyopathy. The condition meant that the lower chambers of his heart (ventricles) were too rigid to expand and receive any blood. The doctors had tried to manage his condition with medications for about two months.

However, as all efforts failed, his condition started to worsen and he became critically unwell. He was then admitted to MGM Healthcare and suffered two cardiac arrests by then. The child immediately needed the support of two heart pumps, the release by the hospital said.

The pumps for small children were made only by a German company called Berlin Heart. This heart pump maintains blood flow in children with heart failure. Hence, the only solution the doctor had was to perform the Berlin Heart implantation. The surgery was a mammoth task for the doctors since they need to fit the cannula need for the pump inside the chest of the baby.

Doctors from multiple backgrounds and countries joined via teleconference to support the team in Chennai. “This is the first recorded time in the world that this complex procedure has been done with complete virtual support,” said the hospital.

In a press release, Dr KR Balakrishnan said, “This was a huge challenge, given the prevailing circumstances. Berlin Heart will support the circulation of this child till his heart recovers or he gets a transplant. Post implant, Lev Fedorenko was kept under observation for a few weeks. The child has recovered remarkably well and has gained weight in a very short time and has been discharged from the Intensive Care Unit. He is doing absolutely fine now.”

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