This World Heart Day, Kuwaiti family are hopeful for their little girl’s bright future following complex heart surgery

Rayah playing in GOSH outpatients department
Rayah playing in GOSH outpatients department

Three-year old Rayah has not had the most typical start to life. Rayah was born with a complex heart defect called pulmonary atresia, ventricular septal defect and major aortopulmonary collateral arteries. The defect was causing her heart and breathing complications at an early age, and required a series of specialised surgeries; surgeries that were recently performed with success. 

Rayah first visited the London-based hospital in 2014 to undergo the first set of operations to resolve her heart problems and breathing difficulties. Speaking on Rayah’s initial visit to GOSH in 2014, Mr Robert Yates, Consultant at Great Ormond Street Hospital said, “Rayah had a very complex surgery which required lots of planning and working across our multidisciplinary teams. As part of her condition, Rayah did not have normal lung arteries and instead her lungs were supplied with blood from several individual collateral arteries. As part of her original operations last year, these had to be detached from the aorta and joined together to create a more normal blood supply to the lungs. ”

Earlier this year, Rayah received an eagerly awaited and final set of surgeries to fix the structure of her heart, replacing a heart valve and closing the hole between pumping chambers.

Mr Yates said, “Once these had grown big enough, after the initial shunt operation and subsequent catheter procedure, we had to make a connection between the newly created lung circulation and the right ventricle using a valved tube, and at the same time, the hole in her heart had to be closed as the final stage of a series of operations. We thought we would have to leave a small hole at the end of the final operation, however Rayah’s lung arteries grew well and we were able to close the hole completely which will make her cardiac prognosis much better for the future. This is a very encouraging result after a lot of planning and team work, and is an example of how planning treatment in stages over a period of time at the same hospital can really improve outcomes.”

After waiting for a year for Rayah’s clinical progress to improve for the second set of surgeries to take place, Rayah’s parents are now hopeful for the future. “Rayah’s last two surgeries happened in a timeframe of a month, with the  most recent being the closing of the hole in her heart which took place in May this year,” said Rayah’s father. “We wish to see her in the best shape and for her to do what she wants to do. Rayah enjoys playing games and playing with toys like most children and she is a very smart girl; she has learnt English while in London,” he added.

“GOSH has become more than a hospital to us. I feel immense gratitude to the nurses and doctors there. I consider the GOSH staff to be part of our family,” concluded Rayah’s father.

All about GOSH

Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (GOSH) in London is recognised as one of the few truly world-class hospitals for children. As a global leader, GOSH has top clinical and research experts working every day to find new and better ways to treat children. While breakthroughs and medical expertise are essential to the treatment of patients, GOSH also places great emphasis on the support and care provided for children by nurturing an open and supportive atmosphere, ensuring that parents and patients are well informed and closely involved in the treatment process. Children receive the highest standards of care and attention from the expert team of medical and support staff during their stay at GOSH, and are always treated with respect, trust, concern and openness.

The International and Private Patients Service at GOSH treats over 5,000 children from over 80 different countries each year. The service is tailored to the referral and treatment of international patients and our dedicated, multi-lingual team ensure a smooth and efficient patient experience.

About the Cardiology Department

GOSH is widely recognised as the national centre, and one of the leading international centres, for inherited cardiovascular diseases in the UK for children. The Cardiology Department, which is the largest in the UK, has developed their service to treat different types of cardiomyopathies, which can cause severe heart failure. The department has also focused on causes of sudden death, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and channelopathies, creating services to screen families and holding regular clinics for those with channelopathies. The department works closely with the cardiac surgeons with over 550 bypass operations performed a year. Next year a second cardiology ward will be opened to increase capacity.

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