For the first time in the history of Ghana, local doctors at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi have successfully performed a heart surgery without opening the heart, ABC News can report.
In a procedure that lasted between 30-35 minutes, Ghanaian doctors in the country’s second-largest hospital safely performed a heart surgery on a teenage girl who was suffering from a hole-in-heart.
The surgery saw the doctors successfully plant a pacemaker to help accelerate the heart-beat of the patient, a procedure which did not involve the opening of the heart.
A pacemaker is a small device that’s placed in the chest or abdomen to help control abnormal heart rhythms. The device uses electrical pulses to prompt the heart to beat at a normal rate.
Pacemakers are used to treat problems with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat, medically referred to as Arrhythmias.
Speaking after the successful operation, the Head of Nursing at KATH, Georgina Afua Sam explained that a collaboration between the KATH and Guangdong Provincial People’s Hospital, a Chinese hospital resulted in the successful surgery.
She said although doctors from the Chinese hospital usually visit KATH to help perform surgeries using this method, a team from Ghana alone performed the latest surgery using the method.
“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. 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 team leader from the Guangdong Provincial People’s Hospital, Prof. Lin Chunying said in order for Ghanaian doctors to be able to apply the new cardio technique, her outfit through the support from the Chinese government sent some Ghanaian cardiologists to be trained in China.
She expressed confidence that with the establishment of a Pacemaker team at the KATH, the hospital will frequently utilise the pacemaker method in their subsequent surgeries to save more lives.
“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. 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,” she said.