SA Hospital Pulls Off Rare Cardiac Intervention – The Third One Ever Recorded In Medical History

By  |  August 14, 2019

A successful cardiac intervention procedure has been done in Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital making the recipient, a 6-year-old, the first African to undergo the revolutionary cardiac procedure.

Ruveshni Lewis was born with one heart ventricle, a condition which meant her heart was unable to pump oxygen-poor blood back to her lungs.

A single ventricle defect is a type of heart defect that a child is born with. It happens when one of the two pumping chambers in the heart, known as ventricles, isn’t big enough or strong enough to work correctly. In some other cases, the chamber might be missing a valve.

Single ventricle defects are rare, affecting only about five out of 100,000 newborns. They are also one of the most complex heart problems, usually requiring at least one surgery.

Lewis who hails from George underwent the medical procedure at the Cape Town-based hospital. The procedure involved implanting an atrial flow restrictor (AFR) in between one of the heart chambers and a conduit.

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The hospital revealed that the incident was the third operation of its kind to be completed in the world. In the previous surgeries, surgeons managed to divert blue blood through a conduit directly to her lungs, without it having to pass through the missing ventricle.

Doctors say Ruveshni is currently in a stable condition and recovering following the successful procedure.

Her mother expressed excitement in her daughter’s recovery. She said, “Mentally and physically she’s a playful child, she wasn’t like that, she couldn’t play long, she couldn’t walk long distances, she would always complain about getting tired too easily but that has all changed,” Justine said.

Pediatric cardiologist Professor Rik De Decker, “After undergoing six previous procedures, the implantation of the AFR effectively means that Ruveshni won’t need to undergo difficult repeat surgery for this problem, which is wonderful news.”

Featured Image Courtesy: Quercus Foundation

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