A life-saving and cutting edge surgery took place at the Red Cross War Memorial Hospital, a first on the African continent.
George, South Africa – Ruveshni Lewis, a 6-year-old little girl, was born with a heart defect. She was born with only one ventricle, meaning her heart has been unable to pump blood into her lungs sufficiently. This means her blood is oxygen-poor, leaving her tired and unable to have a fun, active childhood.
Recently, Ruveshni had surgery to correct the problem, and it was a first in Africa. The operation was performed at the Red Cross War Memorial Hospital. Paediatric cardiologist Professor Rik De Decker said the team implanted a device between the heart chambers to reduce the window’s size from 10mm to 4mm.
The device allows Ruveshni’s blood to get to her lungs and become oxygenated. This way, she can pump blood directly to her lungs even without the second ventricle.
“This device is a new device, it’s not even on the market yet. It’s just been developed and has been tested but it has a hole inside, like a blow-off hole to allow some blood to go through.”
Since the surgery, Ruveshni’s mother, Justine has said her daughter is a different child, she is more physically fit and now has more opportunity to play like a propper child.
“Mentally and physically she’s a playful child, she wasn’t like that, she couldn’t play long, she couldn’t walk far distances, she would always complain about getting tired too easily but that all changed.” – Justine Lewis
The surgery is a first of its kind on the African continent and could change many lives. We hope that Ruveshni continues to thrive and grow now that her heart can pump blood to her lungs.