Family appeals for heart donor

Top News | Carain Yeung 21 Apr 2017

The family of a 50-year-old electronics engineer suffering from heart failure has launched an appeal for a heart donor.

Sin Chi-wa has been relying on an external machine to keep his heart functioning since November and has suffered from a few serious complications, said Cally Ho Ka-lai, consultant doctor of Queen Mary Hospital's cardiothoracic surgery department.

Two donor hearts became available at one stage but they were not suitable for Sin - who is 183 centimeters tall and weighs 64 kilograms - either because they were too small or not in suitable condition.

Sin is first on the waiting list for a heart from someone with type A or O blood. Ho said the muscles of Sin's left atrium were damaged following a heart attack.

Sin's sobbing wife said: "He encouraged me and told me not to fear. Actually he worries about me the most."

She said her husband of 11 years had been fit until he suffered a heart attack at work last October and was admitted to Tuen Mun Hospital.

His condition was triggered by coronary heart disease and he underwent surgery to clear the blocked vessel before being transferred to Queen Mary Hospital the same day.

Further surgery was performed on November 9 to insert tubes for an external ventricular assist device as he had failure of his left heart chamber.

As of yesterday, Ho said the patient's heart function had plunged to lower than 15 percent. He had suffered a stroke but was recovering well from it, walking with the help of nurses.

With all other organs functioning as usual, Ho said Sin is still fit for a transplant but it is unknown if other serious complications will occur that could take him off the waiting list.

"What I worry about the most is that he catches an infection, with viruses damaging other organs," Ho said, adding that Sin developed a high fever last week.

First-line antibiotics did not work and he had been prescribed second or even third lines because of drug resistance, Ho said.

Appealing to the families of potential donors and the public to support organ donation, Sin's wife said: "I know this is a tough decision but it's only with your selflessness and support for organ donation that we will see hope."

Since her husband was admitted to hospital, she went from full to part-time employment and spends 12 hours every day at the hospital taking care of her husband.

Sin's older brother said his sibling was a positive and active person. He shared their childhood memories and said they are both music lovers who enjoyed building their own audio systems.

"I had never cried in front of my brother but I couldn't help it when I saw him in the hospital bed," he said as he recalled flying back from a Korean trip to see his sick brother.

Last year, 12 heart transplant surgeries were conducted in Hong Kong but so far this year there have only been two.

There are currently 30 patients in the queue for a donor heart, including 10-year-old Tang Kai-him who is suffering from heart failure.

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