Ghanaian Doctors Pull Off A First – Perform Successful Heart Surgery Without Opening Patient’s Heart

By  |  October 23, 2019

Doctors at a Ghanaian medical facility, the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in the Ashanti Region, have just pulled off a first.

The hospital has just witnessed a successful heart surgery without the opening of the heart. The procedure, called a pacemaker surgery, was performed for the first time by Ghanaian doctors in Ghana.

Where regular heart surgeries usually involve actually cutting into the heart, the doctors have managed to pull off an actual heart surgery without any of the cutting and stitching that are common with such procedures.

The doctors explained that the procedure which takes between 30 to 35 minutes, is one of the safest procedures to adopt. This marks the first time local doctors in Ghana have successfully conducted such a procedure in Ghana.

Image result for ghanaian doctors heart surgery without opening heart images
Two of the doctors who performed the surgery at KATH
Source: GhanaWeb

The Head of Nursing at KATH, Georgina Afua Sam, said they achieved this from a collaboration between the hospital and a Chinese Hospital, Guangdong Provincial People’s Hospital.

While speaking to Citi FM, an Accra-based radio station, Afua explained that doctors from the Chinese hospital had been coming to the hospital to perform the procedure for quite some time.

That was how the team of Ghanaian doctors at KATH picked up and brushed up on the technique. And this was the first time the Ghanaian team performed the surgery on their own by using the same technique.

“In April this year, we signed an MOU with them in China for continued collaboration, capacity building and providing of facilities. For this fifth time, normally when they come, (all the missions) they do open heart surgery and pacemaker,” she said.

“For this time, they didn’t do any open-heart surgery, they did the valve and the replacement in which the heart was not opened. This is the first time in Ghana and this time too it was done at the Komfo Anokye Teaching hospital. We are so happy that our cardiologists had the opportunity to do the first pacemaker surgery which had a lot of benefits for the patient”.

The Head of Nursing at KATH was elated by the success of the operation and expressed confidence in the ability of the Ghanaian doctors to handle many more of such procedures in the future.

“What we are saying is that we’ve started. We want the community, the entire nation as a whole to know that Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital has started and patients can come. They are warmly welcomed.”

The team leader from the Guangdong Provincial People’s Hospital, Prof. Lin Chunying, said her outfit with support from the Chinese government trained some Ghanaian cardiologists in China. This was to make the Ghanaian doctors right at home with the new cardio technique.

“From 2014, we have been training doctors in Ghana. The first Doctor is Dr. Francis from the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and subsequently, we trained other doctors from the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital,” the Professor said.

“All of them were under training for one year. They studied PCI, Intervention Operation including Pacemaker. After their training, they came back to Ghana and they tried to do operations themselves. So from 2014, I carried my team to Ghana to help them build their capacities and now they can do pacemaker themselves.”

“I think in the future, the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, since they have a Pacemaker team, maybe every week, they can finish pacemaker themselves to save more lives,” she added.

Some of the doctors, however, cited the lack of some needed equipment as a stumbling block that could impede their work. They, thus, enjoined the government to help fill the infrastructural gap.

Featured Image Courtesy: AlternativeAfrica

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