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Sunday, July 14, 2024

First open-heart surgery patient on the road to recovery

Story by Abigirl Tembo, Health Editor

BLESSING Bonda, the first patient to undergo open heart surgery after it resumed this month, is recovering well following a successful six-hour operation conducted at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals last week.

Prior to the operation, the 29-year-old lady from Rugare suburb in Harare had fears.

“The fact that i was the first patient really scared me because in my brain I thought that the doctors were using me as an experiment and that really scared me, I was afraid at first but when i woke up without any pain i was really happy. I would like to thank everyone who was involved in this operation i never thought it would be possible,“ she said.

Having gone for five years without conducting open heart surgeries owing to a number of challenges, the team of specialist doctors and nurses at Parirenyatwa led by Specialist Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeon, Doctor Simukayi Machawira also had reservations.

“It was a cause of anxiety for both the patient and us as the operating team on the background that it had been about five years since we had done a case locally and we are happy that everything worked out well and here she is, able to give her side of the story about how she felt and how the operation went.

“Subsequent to her, we operated on another patient yesterday who is also doing very well. She is here in ICU and we expect that probably by Monday or Tuesday she will be in high care and possibly in the ward with Blessing. We will start by operating one patient per week but will move to 2 per week until we are conducting the operations daily. Roughly, the operation took about six hours but it was mainly because we had to jell since we are just starting. The one we did yesterday took about three hours so you can see we are progressively getting better,” explained Dr Machawira.

Among the 30-member team conducting the operations is a group of anaesthetists led by Cardiac Anaesthetist, Dr Shield Kajese.

“The process of putting Blessing to sleep was uneventful. We anticipated that her heart was not going to respond the same way that a usual heart responds so we had to take all the necessary precautions to make sure that everything goes according to plan so it had to be a very slow and careful induction and maintenance of anaesthesia so that when they were operating everything goes according to plan,” he said.

Since last week, two open heart surgeries have been conducted, with the second patient whose operation was done this Thursday, recovering after a successful three-and-a-half-hour operation.

Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals is the only hospital in Zimbabwe conducting open heart surgeries, with plans underway to decentralise the operations to other government hospitals countrywide.

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