BY Mark Babatunde, 8:54am February 17, 2017,

Tanzanian Hospital Performs Rare Heart Surgeries

JKCI surgeons performing historic heart surgeries. Photo credit: Tanzania Today

Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI) of Tanzania has announced the successful operation of at least 20 patients with different heart-related complications.

The successful surgeries performed by the JKCI have been hailed by many as part of the much-needed steps toward reducing the dependence of Tanzanians — and Africans in general — on foreign medical assistance.

In partnership with India’s BLK Super Specialist Hospital, JKCI has conducted more than a dozen heart surgeries, saving more than 340 million Tanzanian shillings if the patients had received treatment abroad, reports the Citizen.

JKCI Director of Cardiology Peter Kisenge told reporters in Dar es Salaam Tuesday that the patients (seven adult men and nine adult women) were treated for a range of cardiac conditions, including mitral stenosis and complications resulting from blocked heart valves.

Dr. Kisenge said patients with mitral stenosis were attended to during a two-day camp while those with blocked valves were implanted with pacemakers. He explained that complications with the heart valve may arise when the valve does not open properly or has problems closing, blocking the flow of blood through the heart’s chambers.

Most of the corrective operations were performed using a non-invasive radical procedure known as Balloon Valvuloplasty, which serves to widen the opening of a narrowed heart valve (flaps of tissue that control the unidirectional flow of blood in the heart) and improve blood flow through the heart.

“All the surgeries were performed without any need for incision. The good thing about this procedure is that, a patient recovers in a very short time due to the fact that he or she does not have to heal from a major wound. The procedure is medically known as Balloon Mitral Valvuloplasty (BMV) for rheumatic heart diseases,” said Dr. Kisenge.

Dr. Kisenge expects most of the patients to be discharged from the hospital a few days after the operations depending on their recovery speed.

Last month, specialists at the JKCI also announced the successful surgeries of six patients (three adult men and three adult women) suffering from coronary artery chronic total occlusion (CTO).

CTO is a complete or almost complete blockage of a coronary artery for at least 30 days. It is caused by a heavy build-up of atherosclerotic plaque within the artery.

Last November, Tanzanian President John Magufuli impressed many and shored up confidence in the country’s health sector when he revealed that First Lady Janet Magufuli had been ill and received treatment at a public hospital.


Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: February 17, 2017


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