The patient Gautam is grateful and relieved that the melon-sized cyst has been fully removed Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A Dubai cardio thoracic surgeon’s timely diagnosis and surgical intervention helped excise a huge hydatid cyst, the size of a musk melon, from the right lung of a patient.

Dr Girish Chandra Varma, consultant cardio thoracic surgeon was assisted by Dr Sunil Shetty, specialist cardio thoracic surgeon from NMC Speciality Hospital Al Nahda, Dubai in the four-hour complicated surgery to excise one lobe of the right lung of the patient.

Cyst with tapeworm larvae

Speaking to Gulf News about the rare occurrence, Dr Varma said, “Hydatid cysts are uncommon in the UAE, but common in India and other South Asian countries. They are the larval form of the tapeworm, which may enter the body through contact with tapeworm-infested animal faeces or ingestion of very poorly cooked meat (with tapeworm infestation). The larvae usually get lodged in the liver and form a fluid-filled sac in the organ.”

Dr Girish Chandra Varma

Citing the rare incidence of pulmonary hydatid cysts, Dr Varma said, “A pulmonary hydatid cyst occurs in one individual per 100,000, worldwide.”

Fever, severe back pain and cough

On June 22, Gautam, an Indian expatriate who works in the hospitality industry, reported to NMC Speciality Hospital in Al Nahda, Dubai, with severe pain in the back and right side of his chest, along with fever, cough and difficulty in breathing. The patient told Gulf News: “I have no idea how I got this cyst. I was not aware when this may have happened.”

He said he first experienced a severe back pain in January 2020 and the doctor at a clinic he consulted told him it was probably a muscular pain, which settled down in the next few months. “However, from May 2021, I suffered severe pain in my back, heaviness in the right side of the chest, and had fever and difficulty in breathing. I went to several clinics and after several X-rays, CT scans and MRIs, doctors at various facilities concluded that I had a growth in my lungs and required surgery. It was only at NMC Hospital that Dr Varma diagnosed it as a huge hydatid cyst and planned a surgery to safely remove the cyst without rupturing it.”

Dr Varma explained, “I had to remove one of the lobes of the right lung completely along with this huge cyst. Had the hydatid cyst disrupted or opened, it would have caused the patient to go into an anaphylactic shock and triggered several complications. It was tricky and we had to plan the complete excision.”

Pain-free and relieved

The patient who was operated on June 25 and discharged from hospital on June 30 is recuperating at home. He expressed relief that the cyst had been taken out.

“I am relieved to have no pain or fever and am recovering well. I will visit the hospital to get my sutures removed soon after the wound heals. I plan to fly back home to meet my wife, daughter and family in Mumbai and rest for some more time before reporting to work,” he said.