Sidra Medicine, a Qatar Foundation entity, has performed a lifesaving airway stent intervention on a four-year Omani girl named Maryam.

The child suffered catastrophic internal injuries following a blunt trauma to her chest after an accident and developed life-threatening airway problems.

Maryam who suffered severe injuries to her left lung, liver and diaphragm as well as a broken arm was being cared for at the Sultan Qaboos University Hospital in Oman.

Despite having undergone multiple complex surgeries and with the surgeons in Oman repairing the torn bronchus in Maryam’s lung; her injuries meant that she needed to breathe through a tube connected directly to her trachea.

As she required a highly specialised interventional airway procedure she was transferred to Sidra Medicine on a chartered flight.

Sidra Medicine, one of the few hospitals with Cardiac Intensive Care Units (CICU) is also the only one in the Middle East with an advanced intra-operative imaging suite (IMRIS) supported by adult and paediatric interventional radiologists and a paediatric cardiac anaesthesia team to ensure patient safe outcomes.

“With time of the essence, this was truly an international effort as we worked closely with the hospital in Oman that was caring for Maryam, to ensure she was kept stable for a transfer from Oman to Qatar.

Although the surgeons in Oman did an incredible job in repairing her torn bronchus, the airway in a young child is not strong enough to remain open until they are older.

"It was critical to bring Maryam urgently to Qatar to save her lung. What was even more challenging was the fact that it happened during the pandemic,” said Prof Ziyad M Hijazi, acting chief medical officer and executive chair of paediatric medicine at Sidra Medicine.

Maryam’s surgery took place at Sidra Medicine’s IMRIS hybrid operating theatre, which features intraoperative imaging capabilities, including a moveable intraoperative MRI and capacity to run highly complex interventional radiology procedures.

The procedure, which took three hours, featured Dr Andrew Durward, attending physician at Sidra Medicine’s CICU unit and Dr Walid Mubarak, interventional radiology attending physician, placing a biodegradable stent on the left side of Maryam’s airway.

The customised stent, which is 20mm long and 5mm wide, was placed to keep her airway open and for her to make full use of both her lungs.

“This is a highly specialised procedure, as the stent needs to be positioned very carefully and has to fit the airway exactly in order to avoid any complications. It is performed by only a handful of airway specialists around the world.

"In Maryam’s case, a novel biodegradable stent was used which has a very good safety profile and can be repeated in time as the patient grows and recovers,” said Dr Durward

“Along with our specialist anaesthesiologists and intensivists with airway intervention experience, our approach has helped changed the dynamics of specialised paediatric interventional radiology in ensuring successful patient safe outcomes.

"Our teamwork and the effective use of our IMRIS suite is what enabled us to achieve millimetre precision for Maryam’s stent placement as the highly precise technology was able to better define the injuries to her lung and allow us to place the stent safely,” noted Dr Mubarak.

Maryam’s recovery was very swift, as her breathing improved on the very same day following her procedure.

Her stent will biodegrade in three months and is not expected to leave any damage to her airway.

She is expected back at Sidra Medicine in three months, for a follow up consultation and a replacement stent with a view of seeing how her airway recovers over time.

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