GHANA— The University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC), a quaternary medical and research center, has partnered with Global Heart Care to successfully perform the first cardiac catheterization surgery on three children with various heart complications.
This minimally invasive medical procedure, known as Pulmonary Valvuloplasty, aims to correct severe congenital heart valve defects, specifically pulmonary stenosis.
Utilizing the advanced Philip Asurion 7 technology for the first time in Ghana, the surgeons accomplished the surgeries on the three children within a span of two hours. The patients had a short hospital stay of three days, depending on their specific conditions.
Following successful surgeries, UGMC hopes that this procedure will become the standard treatment for managing suitable cardiac defects.
Cardiac catheterization is a safe heart surgery with minimal complications since it does not involve cutting the patient open.
Professor Nana Akyaa Yao, the only pediatric cardiologist in Ghana, emphasized the safety and effectiveness of this procedure.
The surgery was performed by the Ghanaian Cardiac Pediatrician Specialist, with assistance from Global Heart Care.
Philips engineers, Bioengineering, and the ICT staff of UGMC provided technical support for these high-tech interventional pediatric cardiology procedures.
The Global Health Care Team, including its president and founder Prof. Charles Yankah, and Dr. Regina Bokenkanp from Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC), also contributed to the success of the surgeries.
Prior to the surgeries, a training program on the usage of the Cath lab had been conducted for cardiologists, biomedical engineers, and radiologists.
This training took place three months after the installation and commissioning of the state-of-the-art Catheterization laboratory.
The process was organized and operationalized jointly by UGMC and Philips Healthcare systems.
A Cath lab is an examination room equipped with comprehensive diagnostic imaging equipment, where minimally invasive tests and procedures are performed to diagnose and treat cardiovascular disease.
It includes a patient table, an image intensifier or flat panel detector, viewing monitors, an injector pump, angioplasty balloons, a defibrillator, and an X-ray image intensifier for fluoroscopic imaging, as well as a single X-ray generator source.
According to a report by Frontiers in Pediatric on Congenital Heart Disease, this condition poses a significant problem in sub-Saharan Africa, with an estimated 500,000 children born with CHD each year.
The incidence of congenital heart disease ranges from 19 to 75 per 1,000 live births, making it the leading cause of birth defects and the second leading cause of death in the first year of life after infectious diseases.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 1% of live births have CHD, accounting for 1.5 million cases per year.
Unfortunately, around 90% of these children have limited or no access to care, with many concentrated in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Cardiovascular Diagnosis and Therapy Journal of 2021 states that pediatric heart failure is a complex syndrome with relatively low incidence but significant morbidity and mortality.
Adequate assessment of perfusion and volume status is crucial for the management of acute heart failure, while a regimen consisting of an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor, a beta-blocker, and spironolactone is typically prescribed for chronic heart failure.
Intravenous milrinone drug therapy has become essential for bridging children with advanced heart failure to heart transplantation.
However, the journal emphasizes the limited and sometimes conflicting pediatric-specific data guiding these clinical practices.
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