Fourteen adult patients with rheumatic heart disease are undergoing cardiac surgery at King Faisal Hospital-Kigali (KFH).
KFH-K started its 2011 heart surgery programme for adult patients on Saturday last week and at least 12 patients have been operated on and the remaining two are going under surgery today.
The exercise is carried out by the team of volunteers composed of 42 doctors and Allied Health Professionals from Boston, USA (Team Heart Inc.) and local Rwandans, including surgeons, anaesthetists, cardiologists, physiotherapists, pharmacists and nurses.
Dr. Joseph Mucumbitsi, the Paediatric Cardiologist and Coordinator of the programme at KFH-K, said that about 221 Rwandans have so far benefited from the cardiac surgery and catheterization programme.
“We have had three challenging cases so far, but we are happy to have handled them successfully,” said Mucumbitsi.
He added that they expect to discharge the patients after seven days on average but some could stay longer depending on their adaption to post surgery situation.
“We are committed to do a follow up on our patients so that they continue receiving medication,” he added.
Speaking to some of the cardiac surgery patients who were operated on some time back, they said that they are doing well after the operation.
Jean Paul Iyamuremye, 34, from Kigali City, underwent operation in April 2008 and now he says he is in a good condition. Before surgery, he used to spend sleepless nights because of the pain.
“I am now operating my businesses without feeling any pain. I thank the doctors for having restored back my life.”
According to Josephine Uwera 31 from Nyagatare District, she underwent operation in April last year and she is feeling much better although she still feels a little pain because of the scar.
Uwera hopes with time she will be fine because now she can eat well, do other activities which she had failed to do when she was sick.
The National Cardiac Surgery Program started in April 2006 in partnership with the Ministry of Health and four visiting surgical teams that include; “Team Heart Inc.” from Boston USA, “Healing Hearts Northwest” from Washington, USA, “Operation Open Heart” from Sydney, Australia and “Chain of Hope”, from Brussels, Belgium.
This international partnership was built with the aim of developing an autonomous Cardiac Centre of Excellence for children and adults, and offering new opportunities and access to highly specialised cardiac care to Rwandans every year. It will also respond to the local and regional heart surgery needs.