A team of cardiologists at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi, have successfully performed its maiden heart surgical operations, without opening the body.

Dr Yaw Adu Boakye, one of the team members speaking to the Ghana News Agency in Kumasi, said four adults and a nine year old child, have since last week had different defects, corrected.

This, he touted as a great feat for KATH since it was the very first time such procedures have been performed successfully by local cardiologists, he said adding that, the case of the nine year old hole in heart, may be the first in West Africa.

“Unlike previously, the new advanced technology which does not involve cutting open the body, has a two-way advantage both for experts and the patient – these are reduction of the operation time, reduction of labour, and the reduction of the time the patient stays in hospital, among others.

“According to him, the patient also enjoys improved convenience and less discomfort as the painless procedure, is done under conscious sedation, adding patient can even walk home smiling the next day,” he added.

Explaining the procedures, he said KATH was now deploying two different kinds of modern technologies to correct two heart defects, which are pacemaker implantation in adults with slower heart rhythms and congenital hole-in-heart (Atrial Septal Defect), in children.

He said people with slower heart rates of between 30-35, instead of the normal 60 and above, would pass out after any rigorous activity and would need the implantation of the pace- maker to boost the heart’s capacity to race at the normal rate.

Dr Adu_Boakye explaining further the procedure to address the hole- in- heart (Atrial Septal Defect), said it involved passing a catheter from the groin through the arteries right up to the heart, where an umbrella-like device fixed at the end of the catheter, locates the hole and seals it off permanently.

The Cardiologist said the pace-maker implantation, is also done through the passing of an external tube into the body. The device is thus implanted with a generator buried under the armpit to aid the production of normal heart rate.

Dr Adu Boakye said the achievement has been possible through a Memorandum of Understanding signed between KATH and the Guandong General Hospital, China, under which the latter would train KATHs specialist cardiologists in advanced technology in cardio surgery.

Through this collaboration, the Guandong team of heart surgeons have been visiting KATH periodically to perform heart operations as a means of handing down the technology.

Dr Adu Boakye said he and another cardiologist at KATH, were sent to China to receive a year’s training as part of the deal and was upbeat that, this has contributed a great deal to the present feat.

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