Yasmine Abulenein / Pediatric Cardiovascular Surgery / Egypt

Yasmine Abulenein / Pediatric Cardiovascular Surgery / Egypt

Her heart was stopped for 1.5 hours, her coronary vessels changed for 1 mm.
While the Yasmine Revolution was bringing liberation to Egypt, the Egyptian baby Yasmine was brought back to life following a heart operation much more challenging. Yasmine was 15 days old and was born in Egypt. The main arteries from her heart were extended from the wrong direction, leaving her without a chance at life. For approximately an hour and a half, her heart was stopped and the great arteries transpositioned. Simultaneously, the 1-mm diameter coronary vessels nurturing the heart were transformed in the new great artery. For this, Yasmine the baby had her heart stopped for 1.5 hours in a surgery done by Prof. Tayyar Sarıoğlu, Chair of the Main Department of Cardio Vascular Surgery at Acibadem University, and his group.

Baby Yasmine had arrived in Turkey just before the events in Egypt were to unfold. She returned home in good health with her mother Dalia (24) and her father Ahmed Fathi Abulenein (30) on the same day that that protests began in Egypt. Prof. Sarıoğlu said that while the turmoil in Egypt hindered any communication with the family, recent news obtained from specialists of paediatric cardiology at the University of Cairo indicated that both the baby and her family were in top condition.


Father Abulenein said that as his work led him to spending much of his time in international travel, he made it a priority for his family to be up to date on their health check ups, and that they became aware of the condition of the baby during a check-up in week 20. Describing pediatric cardiology as an area of concern in Egypt, Abulenein continued,

“Specialists on child cardiology said that the condition required immediate surgery. And that, we were even too late. I, then started doing a bit of research. A medical friend of mine from the University of Cairo who visited Acibadem before and recommended it. I did a bit of research of Prof. Tayyar Sarıoğlu and made the decision to have my daughter undergo the surgery in Turkey. Our baby was born on the 24th of November 2010. She had surgery on 9th of December 2010. That is, when she was only fifteen days of age. We are lucky and well-educated, and thus, were able to intervene in a timely manner and save her life. We had another daughter, aged a year and a half, and we have had to leave her behind in Egypt. Since our baby was born prematurely, this life-saving operation was her only shot at life. We entrusted her in the hands of a well-experienced team and saved her life.


Prof. Tayyar Sarıoğlu, Department Chair of the Cardio Vascular Surgery at the Acibadem Bakırköy Hospital, said that the baby suffered from a condition known as “Transposition of the Great Arteries,” where the great arteries of the heart stem from the wrong valves in opposite directions. He indicated that the condition was a congenital heart disease and a very complex anomaly. It was a condition that could be remedied if intervened within fifteen days of birth, and that the heart could then turn back to normal. Prof. Sarıoğlu continued,

“Turkey has a firm place in both adult and paediatric cardiac surgery. While patients from neighbouring countries used to firstly consider countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, and Germany for operations, Turkey now tops the list. And that is an indicator of the trust we have gained in cardiac surgery. Operations like the one we have performed on this little baby are examples that portray the extreme ends cardiac surgery in terms of the necessity or technology, knowledge, and experience. In this surgery we transposition both the blood vessels extending from the wrong direction and the coronary vessels, that nurture the heart. The heart of a new born baby is the size of a walnut. The blood vessels that feed the heart have diameters of 1 mm. A heart of such characteristics, we stop for 1.5 – 2 hours, and change the places of the vessels. Technically, the surgery required quite a bit of critique, care, and attention. It lasted five hours. I hope that baby Yasmin from now on be able to lead a normal life. We will be following up on the baby with specialists at the University of Cairo.