The update on the condition of 13-month-old Hui Chi-hoi, who suffers from a rare genetic heart defect, came after his parents made an emotional plea for help to find an organ donor earlier this month.
Chi-hoi has restrictive cardiomyopathy, or RCM, which has led to his heart and other organs failing. His brother, who also had the defect, died at the age of seven months in 2016.
The baby boy is staying in the intensive care unit of Queen Mary Hospital in Pok Fu Lam, and is on artificial life support.
On Friday, Chi-hoi’s mother said she had been told by the hospital on Wednesday that some small blood clots had been found in her son’s heart pump.
“The risk we have been concerned about has appeared. We are very worried,” said the mother, who did not want to be named.
“We know that Chi-hoi is in a race against time. Hopefully he can wait until a [donor] appears.”
Doctors operated on Chi-hoi immediately, but he still requires a ventilator to help him breathe.
Dr Timmy Au Wing-kuk, chief of the hospital’s division of cardiothoracic surgery, said blood clots found inside the pump could be dangerous.
“The clots can dislodge and flow to the brain and cause a stroke,” Au said. “It is a very common complication when using a heart pump.”
Au said Chi-hoi was “waking up more and starting to move his limbs better”, and added that the boy’s liver function, which had been failing, was gradually improving to a nearly normal condition.
Baby Chi-hoi needs a life-saving heart op, but odds are stacked against him
But, the baby is still suffering from kidney failure and requires dialysis, a process which removes waste products and excess fluid from the blood.
“He is still suitable for a heart transplant, and [needs it] urgently,” Au said.
The boy, whose blood type is O positive, would need a heart from another infant who weighs between 8kg and 15kg.
But the chances of a suitable heart being found in time appear slim. Between 2009 and last year, the city had only nine child donors aged 10 or younger. There has been no organ donation for this age group in the past three years.