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Janak Bahadur posing for camera after successful surgery at the NMC Hospital, in Al Nahda. Dubai. Image Credit: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

Dubai: In a three-hour surgery carried out on December 28, a heart surgeon in Dubai excised a large tumour that had grown in the heart of a young Nepalese expatriate.

According to the doctor, the tumour that was 10cm long and 6cm in width was the largest reported heart tumour in the UAE and was occupying the full space in the left atrium of the patient pressing upon his mitral valve.

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Dr Girish Chandra Varma, Cardio-thoracic surgeon add head of the department at the NMC Specialty Hospital, Dubai, told Gulf News: “The patient, Janak Bahadur Karki, was suffering from a rare benign tumour called left atrial myxoma. The 37-year-old laundryman working at a Dubai-based five-star hotel came to me two weeks ago with classic symptoms of valve disease. He was complaining of incessant coughing and breathlessness. A scan revealed the huge myxoma was growing between the walls of the left and right atrium. The tumour almost blocked the left side of his mitral valve. He came to us at the right time as there was a risk of the tumour getting attached to the walls of the atrium,” said Dr Varma.

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Left to Right, Dr Girish Chandra Varma, heart surgeon, Janak Bahadur Patient, and Dr Sunil Shetty, at the NMC Hospital, in Al Nahda. Dubai. Image Credit: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

The patient had a good recovery post-surgery and was weaned off the ventilator in six-eight hours. He had begun taking food orally the next day said Dr Varma who expects the patient to be discharged from hospital in a few days. “He will be able to resume his normal life and activities in a few days,” added Dr Varma.

No more cough or breathlessness

Karki, whose persistent cough has disappeared, is thrilled with the surgery. “I had a very bad and incessant cough, which refused to respond to any medicine and even a light jog of two seconds would make me gasp for breath. I had no idea such a huge tumour had been growing inside. I am so relieved that I am not coughing anymore and hopefully, as I heal and gain strength, I will be able to run without feeling breathless,” said Karki who is looking forward to playing some sport with his 12- year- old son.

What is an Atrial Myxoma?

An atrial myxoma is a non-cancerous tumour in the upper left or right side of the heart. It most often grows on the wall that separates the two sides of the heart. This wall is called the atrial septum. Going by previous precedents, a myxoma has a growth rate of 1.36x0.3 cm/month. Going by this rate of growth, in the case of Karki, it appears that the tumour may have been growing within his heart for at least eight-nine months, prior to the diagnosis, approximately.