For Najat Badru, a 30 years’ wait dream to undergo surgery without opening her heart to close a hole took her to different hospitals around the country without success.
And this week, she was among 25 patients with different heart conditions attended to by a team of specialized Turkish cardiologists at Mombasa’s Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital.
She was the first patient attended by the Turkish cardiologists who arrived in the coastal city to conduct life-saving cardiac surgery and interventional cardiac catheterization among children with congenital heart defects.
“I was born with the condition and my parent could not afford to take me to India for such surgery. I resorted to living with the condition until September last year when I heard of the coming of these specialists,” said Ms. Najat.
According to Vaghela Vinesh, Head of Internal Medicine at the Coast regional referral hospital, Ms. Najat is among 25 patients, who have undergone Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA), Coronary Artery Disease (CDA), and Ventricular septal defect (VSD) heart surgeries.
According to cardiologists, PDA is an abnormal connection between the aorta and the pulmonary artery in the heart interfering with the normal flow of blood.
In patients with PDA condition, blood flows directly to the aorta bypassing the normal process of a pulmonary artery carrying blood from the right ventricle (heart’s right lower chamber) to the lungs for oxygen and back through the aorta to the body.
Although Naajat’s condition was not life-threatening, she was apprehensive of undergoing open-heart surgery fearing complications related to such procedure.
“I waited all these years because my situation was not life-threatening. I had to use some medicines while waiting for an opportunity of specialized heart surgery without any complication,” she added in an exclusive interview with Kenya News Agency.
Open heart surgery involving the opening of the chest wall for cardiologists to access and operate patients’ hearts, a process that sometimes could lead to complications including broken bones and longer recovery time.
Dr. Veghela added the exercise that started on Sunday predominately for children with various heart conditions, also benefited adults like Najat, who were born with heart conditions.
The team target about 80 patients before concluding the exercise on Saturday.
He said the Turkish cardiologists using modern technology conducted minimal invasive heart surgeries on patients with severe conditions that would have required their chest walls opened for surgeons to operate on the hearts.
“With these interventions, we would be able to close these holes in the heart without any operation. It is just accessed through the groin, from where the whole procedure is conducted without any major complication, and the next day, if all is well, the patient is discharged to go home,” he added.
Dr. Vaghela said the surgeries were made at a new catheterization laboratory fitted with assorted modern equipment required for heart surgeries, which former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho opened two weeks ago.
Mombasa Deputy Governor William Kingi added that each of the patients would have paid more than Sh1 million to undergo the surgery.
“We however thank a charity organization from the United Kingdom for bringing the team of cardiologists from Turkey to carry out the procedure free of charge,” added Dr. Kingi.
Dr. Kingi added that the exercise also provided an opportunity for local cardiologists and other medical experts to learn new heart surgery skills and technics from the visiting Turkish specialists.
“Capacity building of our medical team is one of the pillars in our manifesto and indeed this exercise also provided an opportunity for our team to learn new ideas. We have been sending our team to different places to acquire skills in their respective field. Several have returned to improve the quality of health care within our hospitals,” he added.