Noida doctors perform rare heart surgery on Iraqi patient
Hani Jawad Mohammad (56), an Iraqi patient who was suffering from terminal heart failure in 2018, has got a fresh lease of life.
A rare case, Mohammad has fully recovered and his heart is functioning without an artificial pump or left ventricular assist device (LVAD), thanks to the doctors at Noida’s Fortis Hospital who treated him.
LVAD is an artificial device designed for patients with end-stage heart failure. It mimics the functions of a natural heart and pumps blood throughout the body in patients whose natural heart is too weak to perform the function itself. In 2018, Hani came to Noida’s Fortis Hospital with terminal heart failure.
“He was breathless and could not do routine activities, such as taking a bath, without help. Since no surgical procedure was possible, he was put on the heart transplant list. While waiting for the donor heart, the patient’s condition started deteriorating and he became so critical that he required life-saving machines to keep him alive. It is then that we decided to put him on LVAD or artificial heart,” said Dr Ajay Kaul, chairman of Fortis Heart & Vascular Institute, Noida.
The device is placed inside the heart and runs on batteries attached outside the body. A small hole has to be made to connect the machine’s wire with the batteries, said doctors.
In 2019, Hani developed a driveline infection around the point on his chest where the wire was connected.
“We treated the infection and during a routine checkup, we found that his heart had recovered completely and that was very uncommon. We reduced the speed of the pump. His heart was still functioning at optimum capacity, but we kept the pump running to be on the safe side. We asked him to come again after six months for a follow up. We observed him over the next one year as we wanted to be very sure that the heart is functioning properly without the support of the pump,” said Dr Kaul adding that by November 2020, they had turned off the device.
Finally, in August this year, it was decided after due consultation with the patient that the artificial heart would be explanted. “The explantation procedure was carried out at Fortis Hospital, Noida in September. It is a novel surgical procedure which was conducted for the first time in India successfully. The patient was discharged within five days and is doing very well,” said doctors.
According to medical experts, the explantation surgery has not been recorded in medical literature so far.
“LVAD is considered as the last resort for patients with terminal heart failure and is planted on them who are on the waiting list for heart transplant. Generally, when the patient undergoes a heart transplant, the LVAD is removed. In some cases, as the devices have become technologically more advanced, they can also be used as destination therapy where the patient can continue lifelong with the LVAD in his heart. In cases of terminal heart failure, the heart is so weak that without LVAD, it is unable to function. But in this case, the heart has recovered and is able to function without LVAD. So far in India, no such case has been recorded in medical literature,” said Dr Dheeraj Sharma, associate professor, cardiac surgery, Postgraduate Institute of Child Health, Noida.
In the past two years, Hani has become a father of two children and has also named one of his sons after the doctor who treated him.
“I owe my life to the team of medical experts at the hospital who treated me. As a mark of gratitude, I named my newborn son after the head doctor Ajay Kaul. When I came for treatment, I was unable to even stand and was on wheelchair but today, I can do everyday activities without any trouble,” said Hani.