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Heart stopper of a surgery

delhi Updated: Mar 02, 2009 00:17 IST
Rhythma Kaul
Rhythma Kaul
Hindustan Times
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A six-member team, led by cardiac surgeon Dr Promod K Mittal, recently removed a massive tumour from inside the heart of a forty-five-year-old man at Fortis Escorts Hospital in Faridabad. The surgery to remove the giant-sized tumour, measuring 12x7x5 cms — almost half the size of heart — took place on February 5.

When Mahesh Kumar, a grocery shop owner in Old Faridabad, felt a pain on the left side of his chest on February 1, he had no clue about the gravity of his medical condition. After several heart examinations, doctors at Fortis confirmed what a local hospital, where Kumar first went, had diagnosed. He was suffering from myxoma — the most common primary tumour of the heart, only in this case the size of the tumour was extremely uncommon.

Examination revealed a mass in the right side of Kumar’s heart arising from right atrium and prolapsing into right ventricle, causing intermittent obstruction of blood flow in the heart chamber.

According to experts, this kind of tumour keeps moving inside the heart and can prove fatal if it obstructs the flow of blood by blocking the heart valve. “In Kumar’s case, the tumour had reached that stage where it could have anytime proved catastrophic,” said Dr Mittal. The tumour, said Mittal, was the second largest in the world in published literature to have been removed from inside the heart.

Though the surgical procedure was like any standard open-heart surgery, the challenging part was the size of the tumour. Normally reported masses have been documented to be around 5 to 6 cms. “We had to take it out in single piece without damaging it, so that fragments should not migrate to the lungs or the other side of the heart. And the tumour was attached to the surface of the heart, so we also had to ensure there was minimum damage to the heart surface,” said Dr Mittal.

A slight damage to the heart valve while removing the tumor had caused a communication between the right and the left sides of the heart, which was repaired with a synthetic Dacron patch along with the hole inside the heart.

Kumar’s case was rare also because the tumour had arisen from the right side of the heart. “Only in 20 per cent cases the growth occurs on the right side,” said Dr Mittal. Kumar was also lucky that the tumour was detected on time; otherwise it could have spreading to the lungs as well.

“I never felt any discomfort that could have hinted at my disease. Even the pain for which I saw the doctor wasn’t very severe,” he said.