OAUTHC performs surgery on 14-year-old boy with rare heart problem

The Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex (OAUTHC), Ile-Ife, has successfully performed surgery on a 14-year-old boy with rare heart problem.

The Chief Medical Director of OAUTHC, Prof. Adebayo Adetiloye, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria () on Wednesday in Ile-Ife.

Adetiloye described the condition of the boy as a very rare one, saying that such an operation had never been carried out, both in Nigeria and the West African sub-region.

While commending the team that performed the surgery, the CMD said what made the operation unique was the method applied which, he said, was different from those being used abroad.

“Generally, if an open heart surgery is to be done, the cardiologist will stop the heart and divert the blood into the machine to do the work. That is the way it is done abroad.

“But here, the surgeons did not stop the heart and neither did they divert the blood to a machine. Rather, the operation was done directly.

“I want to commend the team for being able to carry out a successful operation, even in the face of limited resources, environmental factor and inadequate equipment. With this, no doubt, there is still hope for Nigeria,” CMD stated.

Also speaking after the operation, Leader of the team, Dr Uvie Onakpoya, said that the boy suffering from heart problem was referred to OAUTHC from Wesley Guild Hospital, Ilesa, for further diagnosis and treatment.

Onakpoya, a heart surgeon, said that the patient’s heart was not working well as at the time he was admitted at the hospital, adding that he was immediately referred to the paediatric cardiologists for prompt attention.

“The paediatric cardiologists did an echo-cardiography on the boy which showed that there was problem with his heart.

“The problem with his heart was a very rare one, and I can say that nobody has ever carried out this kind of operation in Nigeria and West African sub-region before,” he said.

Onakpoya said that the aneurysm of the boy was bigger than the size of the left artery of a normal child, adding that this had compressed the left lower chamber of the heart, thus resulting in the heart failure.

He said that the CT scan, which was done on the boy, further confirmed that his aneurysm had grown bigger, meaning that something urgent needed to be done before it got ruptured, the implication of which, he said, was death.

The cardiologist attributed cases of individuals collapsing, slumbering and dying suddenly to aneurysm bursting.

He commended members of staff of the hospital, a non-governmental organisation () and other individuals for their support, which led to the successful operation.

Also speaking, a former Head, Department of Anesthetic, OAUTHC, Dr Anthony Adenekan, said that the heart operation was the first of its kind, describing the boy’s condition as life-threatening, which required urgent attention.

He also attributed the success of the surgery to the high professional expertise of members of the team who handled it, notwithstanding the financial constraints of the patient’s parents.

“The drugs that we used were those we couldn’t do without, while the instruments used were specially purchased for the surgery,” Adenekan said.

Another paediatric cardiologist, Dr Taiwo Bamgboye, also told that she was a bit skeptical at the initial stage of the operation, concluding that the boy would need an open heart surgery.

She, however, expressed happiness over the success of the surgery, saying that the boy was in a stable condition and was doing fine.

Bamigboye urged parents to be sensitive to their children’s conditions and seek immediate medical attention in order to prevent untoward happenings.

According to her, a lot of congenital heart diseases can be corrected surgically in the country, even though it may be expensive, by Nigeria’s standard.

The mother of the patient, Mrs Florence Oluwatayo, thanked the team that carried out the surgery, particularly the cardiologists, for the success recorded and their financial support.

Oluwatayo explained that the boy was hale and healthy from birth, adding that it was in 2020 that he started complaining of stomachache, which she took for a minor case.

“Later, we discovered that we couldn’t control the problem again. We then took him to Wesley Guild Hospital, Ilesa from where we were referred to OAUTHC,” Oluwatayo said. ()

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