Dr Rafik Abu Samra and his team at Dr Sulaiman Al Habib Hospital Dubai have successfully performed a life-saving valve surgery earlier this month on a 38-year old patient from the UK, who had a congenital heart defect.
Lorna Gore was born with Tetralogy of Fallot, a cardiac anomaly that was corrected over 34 years ago by a paediatric procedure in the UK. However, the patient developed complications later in life and complained of breathlessness, chest pain and fatigue.
“A wide range of heart scans at various hospitals in the UK as well as Dubai revealed that two valves on the right side of her heart were not functioning properly,” says Dr Samra, Consultant Cardiac Surgeon and Head of Cardiac Surgery Department at Dr Sulaiman Al Habib Hospital Dubai.
“Doctors, who treated her earlier, also had differing opinions on the treatment approach for the condition, which made it even more challenging for the patient to decide on her next course of action. A surgeon in the UK was reluctant to operate on the patient, considering the complexity of the case.”
When Lorna approached Dr Samra’s colleague, Dr Albert Alahmar, a consultant of interventional cardiology, at Dr Sulaiman Al Habib Hospital, he immediately carried out a series of medical investigations to establish the exact anatomy and physiology of her right heart valves.
The patient also had pulmonary hypertension, which increased the risk of the surgery. Despite all the challenges, we managed to successfully perform the procedure, replacing the pulmonary valve and repairing the tricuspid valve.
“After looking at the test results, the consensus of the cardiac team at the hospital was to replace and repair the damaged valves,” says Dr Alahmar.
“Tetralogy of Fallot is a birth defect that affects normal blood flow through the heart. It occurs when a baby's heart does not form correctly while he/she is in the womb. In Lorna’s case, we conducted a redo or re-operative cardiac procedure, which has always been associated with increased mortality,” says Dr Samra, who led the team of doctors for this complex surgery.
After looking at the test results, the consensus of the cardiac team at the hospital was to replace and repair the damaged valves.
“The patient's chest was opened for the second time to fix the valves, and it is very difficult to open the chest for the second time because of all the adhesions from the previous surgery. We took around three hours just to open the chest,” Dr Samra explains. “The patient also had pulmonary hypertension, which increased the risk of the surgery. Despite all the challenges, we managed to successfully perform the procedure, replacing the pulmonary valve and repairing the tricuspid valve.”
The patient made excellent recovery after the surgery and went home within a week. “We expect her to return to normal activities within a few weeks,” says Dr Samra, who has years of experience in high-risk heart surgeries.
Dr Sulaiman Al Habib Hospital at Dubai Healthcare City offers comprehensive treatment and care for all heart ailments.
“We have a very experienced team, who can assess and prepare patients for any kind of surgeries. The hospital also boasts a very advanced intensive care unit (ICU), which plays a vital role in post-operative care. The cardiac team is always ready to not only support patients in issues related to health but they can also address their emotional concerns, delivering higher rates of patient satisfaction,” says Dr Samra.
For more information on Dr Sulaiman Al Habib Hospital’s cardiac care department, visit Hmguae.com. Call 04 4297777 to book an appointment with either Dr Rafik Abu Samra, Consultant Cardiac Surgeon and Head of Cardiac Surgery Department, or Dr Albert Alahmar, Consultant, Interventional Cardiology.