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Mongolian children doing well after heart surgery

Photo by Cliff Hollis.
GREENVILLE, N.C.   (July 18, 2001)   —   Doctors said two infant boys from Mongolia are doing well following surgery today at Pitt County Memorial Hospital to repair congenital heart defects.

"Both surgeries went extremely well, and we're unusually pleased with the outcomes," said Dr. Jon Moran, a cardiothoracic surgeon at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. "Both infants are in the pediatric intensive care unit, where they will be overnight. We expect them to be breathing on their own by late Thursday morning, and we anticipate moving them out of the ICU by mid-day."

Both infants are currently listed in critical condition, but are doing well with positive outlooks, Moran said. Physicians anticipate the boys will be discharged from PCMH late Friday or early Saturday. Upon discharge, they will remain in Greenville for the next two to three weeks so physicians can monitor their recoveries before making the long 20-hour flight back to Mongolia.

Dr. Theodore Koutlas, a cardiothoracic surgeon with ECU, performed the first procedure on 10-month-old Chimedtseren Ankhbayar. Moran assisted with the first surgery.

During the second procedure, performed on 10-month-old Tsogoo Sarantsogt, Moran was the lead surgeon and Koutlas assisted. Both operations lasted approximately three hours, standard in this type of heart repair.

Both boys had ventricular septal defects, an abnormality that occurs when the two pumping chambers of the heart have a hole between them. The infants also had smaller holes between the upper chambers of their hearts. The surgeons used a small cloth patch to close the lower chamber holes. They repaired the other holes with stitches.

The boys' visit to Greenville was organized and sponsored by the Samaritan's Purse Children's Heart Project, an international relief organization headed by Franklin Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham.

Mongolia has only one pediatric cardiologist for its 2.6 million people. Through its Children's Heart Project, begun in 1997, Samaritan's Purse has brought more than 120 children with life-threatening heart defects to the United States from Bosnia, Kosovo and Mongolia.


Contact: Tom Fortner | 252-744-2481