Doctors at Liverpool's Alder Hey Hospital have saved an eight-month-old baby's life after fixing his heart using both human and bovine (cow) tissues. The operation was performed when the baby was just days old and diagnosed with Holt-Oram Syndrome, a rare heart disease. Since then, Noa Gwilym Pritchard has made phenomenal recovery.
Surgeons at the hospital who repaired Noa's heart say it is now "near perfect" although his arm may still need surgery. Cow heart valves are occasionally used by surgeons as they have a tissue physiology similar to human valves.
"It's incredible to think how he is today, compared to the serious prognosis given at the 20-week scan. We have learnt from this little boy that suffering is short-lived and that life and the blessing of having him is long-lasting. Noa's such a little fighter," Noa's mother Elen Pritchard, a former geography teacher, told the Daily Mail. She said the arm surgery will come with time but she was just relieved that Noa's heart was out of danger. Due to the nature of open heart surgery, Noa also developed a hernia which needed a further operation two weeks later, which was also heralded as a success.
Holt-Oram Syndrome, a genetic disease, affects only one in 100,000 people. Those with the syndrome have abnormally developed bones in their upper limbs and often suffer from cardiac complications. The syndrome generally includes an atrial septal defect and a first degree heart block.