The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, has led a medical team to successfully remove and replace a damaged mitral valve with an artificial one on a sixty-one-year-old man.
Ghana's first open-heart surgery has successfully been performed to replace a damaged mitral valve with an artificial one on an man outside the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH).
The man, 61, had a damaged mitral valve located at the left side of his heart which could no longer ease blood flow from the left atrium to his left ventricle resulting in palpitation.
Renowned Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, led a medical team at the Providence Specialist Hospital to conduct the surgery over the weekend in Accra.
The team included Heart Surgeon, Dr Baffoe Gyan, Professor Martin Tamatey, Heart Surgeon, Dr Ernest Ofosu Appiah, Anesthetist, Mr Tito Nto, Anesthetist and Mr Roger Godson, a Clinical Perfusionist and four other nurses.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said had the condition not been repaired at the time where the risk was low and beneficial to the patient, it could have resulted to heart failure and surgery would no longer remedy the problem.
While walking journalists through the procedure, he explained that the patient was put to sleep; cleaned, dripped, chest opened, replaced the heart to the mitral valve and closed the wounds in the heart in order to make it begin its function.
‘‘Let me add that at a point in the process we had to transfer the function of the heart and the lungs to a heart/lung machine…because we could not open the heart if it was working.’’
He added, ‘‘the body was cooled to about 28 degrees for preservation and then cooled the heart to about 10 degrees so it stopped working and empties the blood in it to enable us to replace the valve.''
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng further explained that ‘‘after, we warmed the heart and the body to the original temperature and transferred its function back to it from the machine.’’
The patient would be kept in the Intensive Care Unit between 3 to 4 days and later to the recovery ward, the renown Cardiothoracic Surgeon disclosed.
He said the valve would last for the rest of the patient's life and would not make him vulnerable to any heart disease but would rather improve the life of the patient.
He also revealed that the cost of such a surgery is relatively cheaper in Ghana compared to abroad which cost between $50,000 to $70,000.
He urged the public not to travel abroad for treatment when diagnosed with such a condition because it could be undertaken in Ghana at a cheaper rate.
He said as part of efforts to help make heart health surgery accessible to the public, Providence Health Hospital would collaborate with all other specialist facilities in the country.
Prof Frimpong-Boateng bemoaned the pervasive rate of the condition in Ghana and said there are people with such conditions but country has inadequate facilities and specialist to attend to them.
“In a year, we are supposed to do about 12,000 heart-related surgeries but I do not think we currently do up to 200,” he stressed.
He stated that for every two million population, there should be a heart center to attend to them.
Preferably, Ghana needs to have about 15-heart centers to serve the people.
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