In the first surgical operation of its kind in South Africa, doctors in Johannesburg have successfully implanted the heart tissues of an ox into a sixteen-month-old baby.
SV Baby Jacques Nagel, 16 months , on medical bed.
CU Snoopy dog toy hanging from apparatus by bed.
SV & CU Baby Jacques tugging at lead. (2 SHOTS)
CU Head of cardiac Surgery at University of Witwatersrand speaking.
SURGEON: "We are most gratified by his initial improvement after the third operation that we think it might be possible, in view of the fact that this bovine pericardium won't grow, it might be possible many years later to further enhance the size of the atrium."
REPORTER: "What sort of life will he lead?"
SURGEON: "Well, he should live a pretty good life if, certainly, while the chamber is of adequate size for his body size. But, once the chamber becomes limited, if it does, then he will again develop symptoms of cardiac failure; but we are hoping that this won't be the case.
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Background: In the first surgical operation of its kind in South Africa, doctors in Johannesburg have successfully implanted the heart tissues of an ox into a sixteen-month-old baby. The boy, Jacques Nagel, has a rare heart condition which is usually fatal in infants. He had already had two major operations to re-route his blood supply from the liver to his heart, and to enlarge one chamber of his heart. This surgery was successful, but doctors needed to greatly expand the blood-receiving chamber of the heart, the atrium, to take the extra supply of blood. To do this, they used the lining of an ox's heart.
SYNOPSIS: A week after the operation, Jacques appeared to be thriving. Ox tissue is normally used to make implantable heart valves, but this was perhaps the first operation of its kind anywhere. On Wednesday (18 October), the head of cardiac surgery at Witwatersrand University, who led the surgical team, described the boy's progress.