56 successful heart transplants have been performed in Kazakhstan since 2012. Doctors of the National Research Cardiac Surgery Center were the first to perform a heart transplant in Central Asia. One of the patients, Zhanibek Ospanov leads an active life today. But a few years ago, doctors told him he would live not more than half a year.

ZHANIBEK OSPANOV, FIRST PATIENT WITH DONOR HEART:

- It was 5 years ago. I am grateful to our doctors, Mr. Pya and his team. I feel great now, I do sports, I returned from Spain just a month ago, I took part in the world sports games for people who had undergone organ transplantation, and we won a gold medal. It shows that we had successful organ transplantations and postoperative rehabilitation, which let us maintain our physical health.

Zhanibek received the donor heart from Igor Vorotnikov’s mother who died from a stroke.

IGOR VOROTNIKOV, SON OF FIRST HEART DONOR:

- I was ready for that and decided to donate the organ. This let two people live longer. Once my friends asked me a question ‘Do you think your mom died? One of them asked when my mom’s heart stopped and I said ‘My mom’s heart is still alive’.

Apart from heart transplant, seven lung transplant surgeries have been successfully conducted in Kazakhstan. This is just a beginning, doctors say. More lives can be saved

YURY PYA, CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL RESEARCH CARDIAC SURGERY CENTER:

- We can deliver donor organs from any part of Kazakhstan. We use special equipment for that

JOSE NUNEZ, EXPERT, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION:

- Five years is great compared to other countries. I mean of course some other countries have more transplant to perform from five years for now. They have started with an excellent program.

Heart transplants have been done on 15 patients in Astana since the beginning of the year. There are nearly 200 people who need donor hearts in Kazakhstan. Surgeons say that pediatric heart transplant will be developed in the future. It requires a legal framework.

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