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The surgical procedure on Mary Wanjiku’s heart was conducted by a team of experts led by KNH Pediatric cardiologist Dr Naomi Gachara/KNH

Capital Health

18-year-old undergoes successful surgery at KNH to correct congenital heart defect

The condition called Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) is a congenital heart defect that causes breathing problems, frequent chest infections and recurrent pneumonia.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 8 – The Kenyatta National Hospital has conducted a minimally invasive surgery on an 18-year-old lady who was born with a heart condition highlighting its thriving success in cardiac surgeries.

The condition called Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) is a congenital heart defect that causes breathing problems, frequent chest infections and recurrent pneumonia.

KNH Pediatric cardiologist Dr Naomi Gachara led the team of multidisciplinary experts in operating Mary Wanjiku’s heart.

While addressing journalists she noted that the doctors conducted a highly delicate pin-hole procedure called PDA Device closure by accessing the heart from the leg to close the PDA.

Gachara noted that unlike other surgeries, the procedure does not show any visible scars.

“There is a way we are doing it from the leg where through all big vessels, all blood go to the heart. We are able to follow through a pinhole, once you get to the heart, we use x rays, we are able to see where the lission is, we again use a cathertor and bring in a small gadget once you deliver the gadget you screw it and unscrew it and the heart is not in position”

She said the 45-minute surgery was performed on Tuesday, February 2, and the patient was discharged on Thursday.

“The beauty of this surgery is that you do it  today and tomorrow the patient is home walking unlike in surgery where the patient will be in hospital for more than 4 days, you will not have complications if you choose the right gadget,” Gachara explained.

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While noting that it’s not the first of its kind surgery performed in the facility, KNH urged all Kenyans not to shy visiting the hospital to be treated.

“It is good for parents to bring children, let them be checked so that we don’t diagnose the disease late in life,” she added.

The patient, identified as Mary Wanjiku while expressing her gratitude to the KNH management, urged other Kenyans with similar conditions to be brave and hopeful that they can be treated.

“I want to thank the KNH team and I am urging everyone with such conditions to be brave, I honestly did not think I would heal for now,  I am a testimony that anyone can be healed,” Wanjiku said.

“I brought my child in August 2020, we started the treatment and by February she was scheduled for the procedure which I initially thought was a surgery,” her mother Tabitha Wanjiku said while expressing gratitude to the facility.

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