Heart-related problems
The life-threatening defect usually requires surgical procedures in stages. Image used for illustrative purpose only. Image Credit: Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Doctors have saved the life of a 16-year-old boy with only one ventricle, one of two chambers that pump out blood from the heart into the body.

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The young patient was brought in exhausted due to low blood-oxygen levels. Doctors diagnosed patient with the rare congenital heart defect of being born with only one ventricle. This complex and life-threatening defect usually requires surgical procedures in stages, explained Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha), a subsidiary of PureHealth, which manages Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) where the procedures were performed.

Rerouting blood flow

The team of cardiologists and cardiac surgeons at SKMC - a public hospital - carried out an interventional procedure in which a therapeutic cardiac catheter was inserted in the cardiac cathlab, which partially rerouted blood flow from the superior vena cava directly to the pulmonary arteries, allowing more blood to reach and have oxygen uptake in the lung.

This resulted in a “remarkable improvement” in the patient’s condition and paved the way to the second surgery known as the Fontan Procedure. This surgery rerouted blood from the inferior vena cava directly to the pulmonary arteries, enabling the functional ventricle to pump oxygenated blood to the body. As a result, the patient’s heart started functioning better, supplying the body with oxygenated blood.

Commenting on the procedure, Saeed Al Kuwaiti, CEO of Seha - which operates all public hospitals and clinics in Abu Dhabi - said: “At Seha, we are able to draw upon world-class surgical expertise and advanced medical facilities to create a staged surgical plan and the capabilities to carry out complex procedures. This success is not just a testament to our surgical excellence across Seha’s network, but also to the strategic foresight of PureHealth.”