By Chioma OBINNA
October 29, 2010, will remain evergreen for Mr. & Mrs. Kenneth Onuoha. This was a day, doctors in Reddington Hospital, Lagos repaired the heart of their three-year-old baby, Victoria Onuoha through non-surgical intervention called Device Closure of PDA’, a procedure that leaves no scar on the patient.
Born in 2007, Victoria was said to be suffering from a congenital heart disease known as Patent Ductus Arteriosis (PDA), that leaves an opening in the heart. She was diagnosed of the problem two years ago at the Lagos State Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) but unfortunately, the equipment required for the procedure then was not yet available in the country then.
Victoria’s mother said while the search for cure was on she was forced to live with the pains, general weakness and other signs associated with the disorder from 14 days of her life. For the parents, it was not just a night mere, a problem they never thought could have a solution.
Narrating her experience to Good Health Weekly, Beatrice said, “You asked how I feel today? Do you know what it means to be told two weeks after delivery that your baby has a congenital heart disease? It was not easy for me and my husband as we were going in and outside the hospital. She was always falling ill, weak most times. She cannot do what other babies of her age do. It was not easy at all”
Victoria must have been destined to be victorious as Reddington Hospital only commissioned it’s Digital Cardiac Catheterization (CATHLAB) suite last year, which is the only option in the country for such surgical intervention for now.
Even with that in place, Victoria’s parents may not have been able to pay for the surgery without external assistance. Respite however smiled on her way as a non-governmental organisation, Edensfield Health Foundation, intervened to sponsor the procurement of the imported device, which is valued at about N500, 000.
With the procurement of the device, the hospital in collaboration with Lagos State Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) carried out the life- saving procedure free of charge. Today, Victoria can now smile, cry, run and play like any other child courtesy of the Device Closure provided by Edensfield.
Expressing thanks to God, Victoria’s mother, Beatrice hinted that Victoria’s health had greatly improved since the procedure was carried out. “The way her heart beats before is not how it beats now. Her heartbeat is normal now and the high temperature she used to have also gone down.
Her growth too was delayed compared to other children. As her mother, I was not happy then because I was suffering the stress of carrying her up and down to get help, but now, I am happy that she can play like other children.”
Announcing the feat in Lagos, Management of the hospital said as a contribution to the landmark treatment of Victoria in the facility, the charges were waived. Acting Medical Director, Dr. Olu Lawani said the procedure was 100 per cent successful. The medical intervention, he noted, is unique in the sense that it is the first of it kind in Nigeria and West Africa at large.
The first report on the device closure of PDA was observed in 1967 by Porstmann and had gained wide acceptance and used all over the world since then, but this is the first report of using this mode of treatment for PDA in West Africa.
In the past, correcting such heart defects required performing an open heart surgery on the patient, which involves the cutting of the chest cage to gain access to the heartThe team of doctors that performed the operation includes Adeola Animashaun, a consultant Paediatric and Interventional Cardiologist at LASUCOM/LASUTH; Yemi Johnson and Sola Idowu, both consultant cardiologists at the Reddington Hospital.
Lawani, said the cost of the procedure varies depending on the complexity of the aliment and the cost of the device required for it. “The devices range from $500 to $5 000, so it all depends on what device we have to use. Every case will be determined individually, but it will be cheaper than going abroad.”