UAE: Doctors perform complex, unique surgery on teen with hole in his heart

The procedure was complicated by the fact that the patient had a cochlear implant, meaning a regular electrical cautery could not be used


Ashwani Kumar

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Supplied photos
Supplied photos

Published: Thu 13 Apr 2023, 4:00 PM

Paediatric heart surgeons at Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) have successfully performed a complicated heart surgery on a teenager despite facing a unique challenge.

Abdulla, a 14-year-old boy, was born with hearing loss. He had a cochlear implant – an electronic device to improve his hearing – and a few months ago, he was diagnosed with a hole in his heart.

Dr Benedict Rajkumar, consultant paediatric cardiac surgeon, noted that having a cochlear implant made performing an open-heart surgery a complicated procedure.

“Abdullah was diagnosed [with] a hole in [his] heart. But he had an association condition, which increased the challenge of doing the open-heart surgery. He was born hard-of-hearing and needed a cochlear implant to help him learn to listen and speak. Because he had a cochlear implant, we could not use a regular electrical cautery to open the chest, and we needed to find a way to do it safely,” Dr Benedict said.

Photo: Abdullah
Photo: Abdullah

A meeting was held with multi-disciplinary specialists and staff, including biomedical technicians and anaesthetists, to think of an out-of-the-box idea and perform the surgery without using standard machines.

“We were able to find a set of instruments from the general surgical and the laparoscopic teams to use and perform a bloodless surgery. And he recovered very fast and was able to go home within a week. These challenges in surgery can be overcome if you have a team that is as good as the one that we have in Sheikh Khalifa Medical City,” Dr Benedict underlined.

Abdullah’s father hailed the cohesive effort of the medical team to pull off the complex heart surgery. “I am grateful to God that Abdullah’s surgery was successful. Our gratitude goes out to the medical team at SKMC,” he said.

Appointments can be booked through the SEHA Mobile app or WhatsApp on 024102200 or by calling 80050.


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