The Heart Centre of the University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC) has successfully conducted its first surgery on a beating heart.
The surgery, otherwise known as Off-Pump Coronary Artery Bypass, was performed on two adults, a 70-year-old retired teacher and a 67-year-old businesswoman, who were among six patients who underwent complex cardiac surgical procedures at the centre.
The celebrated heart surgeon, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, is known to have performed the first beating heart surgery in Ghana at the Cardiothoracic Centre of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.
A statement issued in Accra by the centre last Friday said the retired teacher (name withheld) presented to the centre with central chest pain radiating to the left shoulder, easy fatigability, and palpitations.
It said his examination and investigation were consistent with severe triple-vessel coronary disease, otherwise known as blocked arteries to the heart, which affected the left anterior descending artery, the circumflex artery, and the right coronary artery.
Regarding the businesswoman, the statement said she was rushed to the UGMC with chest pain, nausea, vomiting, and diaphoresis.
She was investigated and found to have severe two-vessel coronary artery disease.
The statement said a three-hour emergency surgery was conducted on a beating heart (off-pump coronary artery bypass graft) of the retired teacher, during which period the left internal mammary artery was connected to the left anterior descending artery and the reverse saphenous graft to the circumflex and right coronary arteries, respectively.
It said the patient was extubated two hours after surgery, spent 24 hours in the intensive care unit, and was discharged on the fifth day.
The statement said the businesswoman, who was extubated one hour after surgery and discharged on the fifth day, had her left internal mammary artery connected to the left anterior descending and reversed saphenous graft to the circumflex artery.
The statement named the cardiothoracic surgeons who achieved the feat as Professor Enoch Akowuah, Dr Baffoe Gyan, Dr Gordon Offei-Larbi, and Professor Andrew Owens, with Dr Ernest Ofosu Appiah as the anesthetist.
Providing details about coronary artery disease, the statement said risk factors were grouped into modifiable and non-modifiable factors.
It mentioned modifiable risk factors to include smoking (cigarettes, shisha, and other tobacco products), increased alcohol intake, diabetes, hypertension, and poor dietary habits, which involved eating junk food and late eating, among others.
“Obesity/dyslipidemia, stress, physical inactivity, increased levels of highly sensitive C-reactive proteins, and homocycsteinemia” were also mentioned as risk factors.
For non-modifiable, the risk factors included advanced age (after 65 years), family history, and male gender.
Preventing coronary artery disease
The statement mentioned some preventive measures against coronary artery disease, including screening and routine check-ups; regular exercise (20 minutes at least three times a week); quitting smoking or alcohol intake; control of blood pressure and blood sugars for persons diagnosed with hypertension and diabetes; and keeping one’s weight within the normal range on a Body Mass Index (BMI) chart.
The statement explained that if one was overweight, losing just five percent to 10 percent of the current weight would lower one’s risk of developing coronary artery disease.
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