AN elite Singaporean cardiac team flew into Siem Reap on Monday to perform open-heart surgery for the first time at the Angkor Hospital for Children.
Dr William Housworth, executive director of the hospital, told the Post that the surgeons worked on "repairing small holes in the heart".
Six hole-in-the-heart operations were undertaken at the hospital this week.
This is a big step for the hospital because although it has performed closed-heart operations, open-heart surgery such as the procedures completed on Monday, which involved heart bypasses, have not been attempted before.
The hi-tech operation, which has been performed in Phnom Penh, has previously been too risky to attempt at the Angkor Hospital for Children.
The hole-in-the-heart surgery was the prelude to another series of free operations scheduled to take place in six months, possibly involving a larger number of patients.
"There many more similar cases of small holes in the heart to be repaired," a hospital spokesperson said. Roughly 500 children are eligible for the surgery, and hospital staff had the difficult task of creating a shortlist of candidates.