Two Newborn Babies with Severe Heart Defects Operated at Acibadem Sistina During Coronavirus State Of Emergency


Acibadem Sistina’s medical team performed two urgent cardiac surgeries in newborns in the last ten days. Under conditions of Covid-19 pandemic, when work is performed in emergency conditions, both operations saved the lives of two babies who had extremely severe heart defects. The conditions of the two babies were diagnosed during their mothers’ pregnancy using a new screening system, unique in Acibadem Sistina. With early diagnosis and a multidisciplinary approach to treatment, the chances of treatment success are increased. The operations were performed by a complete team from Acibadem Sistina, headed by the only licensed pediatric cardiac surgeon in the country, Dr. Vladimir Chadikovski. He says the children were admitted in extremely severe condition, but are now well.

The first baby weighed 2.9 kilograms, with single ventricle and pronounced pulmonary hypertension, and the other baby weighed 2.2 kilograms with a large blood vessel transposition.


“The interventions went very well, the babies are gradually recovering and are in good shape. The system we have established during the last few months has definitely born fruit; it comprises of monitoring pregnant woman throughout the pregnancy, fetal echotomography examinations and talking to families about the disease and the outcome of appropriate treatment. The baby is cared for immediately after delivery and appropriate treatment is initiated. All children with heart defects are taken care of by a team of 25 doctors from different specialties and more than 50 nurses”, said Dr. Chadikovski.

He adds that there is an exceptional professional cooperation with the team of the pediatric cardiac surgery team from Acibadem Istanbul, and their help in establishing our center in the region is of great importance.

What is even more important is that the operations were performed at this time of pandemic when health systems in all countries face an enemy of which little is known – not even about transmission, incubation, treatment. During state of emergency, according to the recommendations of the Ministry of Health, only emergency interventions have been performed.

“Until now, the Department of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery at Acibadem Sistina has only been performing surgeries for emergencies and children with heart defects are one of the most vulnerable categories. The surgery itself weakens the immune system and Covid-19 disease can be fatal after surgery. Preoperatively, during the operation and postoperatively in both babies, all the necessary measures were taken to maintain the health of the patients and the healthcare professionals, who provide the highest level of care, not only in our department but also in the entire hospital, which can be seen from the results so far, when the pandemic is at its peak “, says Dr. Chadikovski.


At the moment, there are about twenty children with heart defects on the surgery list, and the Acibadem Sistina team is organizing to return to its regular program, step by step. In the last three months, Acibadem Sistina Hospital has operated on more than 20 children with the most severe heart defects, with extremely low body weight; it has performed 6 intervention procedures and two pacemaker replacements. All children are at home in good condition, and two of them were operated on at the time of the corona pandemic. According to Dr. Chadikovski, this is a fact that shows that the Department of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery at Acibadem Sistina is becoming the pride of the whole country.

All interventions are covered by the Health Insurance Fund, and the benefits are enormous.

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What if this team and the department at Acibadem Sistina did not exist at this time of pandemic and closed borders?

“I have to say that before 2013, more than 1,000 children were operated on in Bulgaria, and more than 350 died without being able to undergo surgery. We are finally working in a health organization that sees our potential, invests in human resources, infrastructure and equipment in order to be recognized on the map for pediatric cardiac surgery in the region and beyond. What if this team and the department at Acibadem Sistina did not exist at this time of pandemic and closed borders? What would have happen to these babies? During a pandemic, we are currently part of a project for treating children with heart defects involving more than 43 countries (43 world-renowned hospital centers) in which surgeries are performed in children with heart defects. The results will soon be published in a professional magazine, which shows that we are on the right track to establish an accredited center for the first time, recognized everywhere in the world”, said Dr. Chadikovski.