Sharifa Mohammed Abdullah with the Dubai Hospital medical team.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
An emergency heart surgery in Sharjah and a scheduled heart operation in Dubai which got complicated because of the urgent cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) that lasted for almost three hours, proved to be successful, with the women patients now on their way to full recovery.
Shahma Kareem, 15, was rushed to the Zulekha Hospital in Sharjah, underwent the three-hour paediatric open heart surgery on Sept. 24 due to terrible chest pains worsened by shortness of breath.
Recently, CPR was conducted on Sharifa Mohammed Abdullah when she was shifted from Rashid Hospital to Dubai Hospital for a planned heart bypass surgery; but, her heart suddenly stopped before the scheduled operation.
On Tuesday, regarding Kareem’s case, Zulekha Hospital-Sharjah’s Adult & Paediatric Cardiac Surgeries consultant Dr. Yasser Mohamed Menaissy said: “It is advisable that one quickly sees a doctor when he/she is experiencing chest pain or tightening of the chest.”
“This could be a God-sent symptom for early detection and which must not be ignored,” he added.
The advice came about as Kareem had become among the children all over the world born with a congenital heart defect (CHD) but only diagnosed later.
It was discovered that Kareem had been going through tightening of chest and pain with bouts of difficulty in breathing since 2018.
On Sept. 24, heart ultrasound had shown she had been suffering from the CHD called “Atrial Septal Defect” (ASD), a hole in the heart.
ASD “causes too much blood to pass into the lungs (leading to) the elevation in the pulmonary artery pressure and repeated chest infections. Complex cases leads to the de-oxygenation of the blood with bluish discoloration of the lips and nails, if unattended.”
The heart ultrasound had revealed the “hole in her heart with the edge not complete or had no enough space (or substance) to clip or close it through interventional procedure.”
It was decided that the open heart surgery was the only way to resolve her birth defect condition.
“Thirty-five per cent (of CHDs) are not diagnosed until later in life,” said Menaissy, when asked why Kareem’s case had not been known earlier.
“Because if the symptoms are not severe, people or patients do not pay much attention,” he added, when pursued for such a situation.
From the Mayo Clinic portal, “chest pain is not always severe or even the most noticeable symptom, particularly in women” which they normally describe as “pressure or tightness.”
Among other signs are neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort; shortness of breath; indigestion; dizziness; and pain in both arms.
Menaissy said CHDs could be hereditary.
Kareem, hospital discharged a fortnight back is at full rest at home and scheduled for a follow-up medical consultation in two weeks, according to her father, Abdul.
“She still experiences pain when we lift her up or put her to bed. It seems the medicines are working.”
The Emirates Red Crescent and two other organizations funded the first-ever paediatric cardiac surgery completed in a private hospital in the UAE.
Over at Dubai Hospital, Abdullah was ready for her bypass heart surgery when she suddenly collapsed after gasping for air and her lungs were found to be flooded with water.
The CPR team noticed that “every 20 minutes there was little change in her heart rhythm which was enough for the team to keep going even though the patient had no pulse throughout.”
She had been discharged from the hospital in good health after going through the “urgent high risk Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) or angioplasty with stenting procedure and a 24-hour stay at the intensive care unit.
“It was a high risk surgery due to the patient’s circumstances from cardiac arrest, very long CPR and complex coronary disease. But there were critically blocked arteries. Three coronary stents were placed,” said Interventional Cardiology consultant Dr. Hesham Osman.
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