According to the doctors, the operation lasted around three hours, during which the heart was stopped for about one hour and 45 minutes, and restarted successfully after that.
Limpopo, South Africa – South Africa may be known as the first country in the world to perform a successful heart transplant, but many regions around the country have not had the resources or knowledge to carry out these complicated surgeries.
Christiaan Neethling Barnard (8 November 1922 – 2 September 2001) was a South African cardiac surgeon who performed the world’s first highly-publicised heart transplant and the first one in which the patient regained consciousness. On 3 December 1967, Barnard transplanted the heart of accident-victim Denise Darvall into the chest of 54-year-old Louis Washkansky, with Washkansky regaining full consciousness and being able to easily talk with his wife, before dying 18 days later of pneumonia.
Many hospitals around the country have made astounding advances in medicine, and now Mankweng Hospital in Limpopo can join the ranks.
An open-heart operation performed by doctors in Limpopo is set to be the first of many surgeries that will see the province reduce its number of patient referrals to other regions.
Medical staff, led by Cardiothoracic Surgeon and Professor Marule Lucas Mohlala at Mankweng Hospital in Limpopo, performed the open-heart surgery on a patient from Tzaneen on Thursday the 18th of April 2019. The operation is described as a “huge left atrial myxoma”. An atrial myxoma is a non-cancerous tumour in the upper left or right side of the heart and most often grows on the wall that separates the two sides of the heart. If left untreated, an atrial myxoma may be fatal.
According to the doctors, the open-heart operation lasted around three hours, during which the heart was stopped for about one hour and 45 minutes, and restarted successfully after that.
Following the surgery, Limpopo Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba visited the team on Friday and thanked them for their skilful work, adding that this would reduce the need to transfer patients to other provinces for treatment.
“This will restore public confidence in our system. Thanks to Prof Mohlala and the team. We will reduce trips to Gauteng province for such major operations,” said the MEC.
The 42-year-old patient is said to be recovering well in the hospital’s intensive care unit as she is fully conscious, talking and eating, and is expected to be discharged soon.
The South African Medical Association’s Angelique Coetzee said: “This is terrific news and the team under the leadership of the Acting Head of Clinical Care Services at the hospital, Dr Seshoka Muila, should be extremely proud of what they have achieved. SAMA would like to congratulate the hospital and the province on this successful surgery.”
SAMA said this successful surgery proves that there are incredibly capable and competent medical professionals throughout the country.
“The challenge now is to increase this number of specialists at all public hospitals in all provinces to provide healthcare to the nation,” said Coetzee.