Six benefit from much-needed surgery as visiting medical team tackles ‘heart problems’


By Vishani Ragobeer

Dindyal Narine, a 52-year-old man, lives along the Pomeroon river in Region Two (Pomeroon- Supenaam). About two weeks ago, his health took a turn for the worse.

“It start with a kinda something like wind (or) upset stomach.

“I use diamond water, milo tea but I can’t rest and after I can’t rest I decide to travel to the Woodlands Hospital (in Georgetown) from Pomeroon,” Narine related on Wednesday.

He was required to get admitted to the hospital for observation and care. He, however, decided to go to the Georgetown Public Hospital instead. His reasoning was that the public hospital was simply more cost-effective.

But, the man’s health further deteriorated as he suffered from three heart attacks.

“(I) never had this problem,” Narine lamented, explaining that he went through a sudden “take down”.

Dindyal Narine, the 52-year-old patient (Photo: News Room/August 18, 2021)

Doctors were able to pinpoint that the man had some blockages in his heart and he needed surgery. But, his troubles did not end there.

With the pandemic placing a strain on the availability of surgeons, the man had no one to operate on him.

Fortunately, the man was able to engage doctors at the Dr. Balwant Singh Hospital, a private hospital in Georgetown.

And, Narine was among the six patients, between the ages of 15 to 59, who were able to receive much-needed heart surgeries that would enable them to return to their daily lives without the pain and discomfort they experienced before.

Dr. Madhu Singh, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dr. Balwant Singh’s Hospital (Photo: News Room/August 18, 2021)

Each of the patients were grappling with a cardiovascular disease. And, the surgeries they needed were done by a visiting medical from India at the holistic cardiac care unit at the private hospital.

“It has been the desire of the hospital to fill this particular gap to provide access to cardiac [heart] surgery,” says Dr. Madhu Singh, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dr Balwant Singh’s Hospital.

And, she explained that when the cardiac team engaged the hospital, it was a ‘no-brainer’.

Dr. Prashanth Vaijyanath, the cardiac surgeon on the team, explained that his team was able to perform the six surgeries over the past few days with minimal use of blood transfusions and with little to no complications.

Importantly, Dr. Vaijyanath and team were able to operate on four of the patients using a ‘beating heart’ bypass surgery.

This surgery, in simple terms, is performed on a heart while it is beating. That is, the heart will not be stopped during surgery.

And, Dr. Vaijyanath, during a press conference on Wednesday, happily reported, “Three (patients) are already in the room walking around normally.”

Narine is one of those patients.

Dr. Prashanth Vaijyanath, the visiting cardiac surgeon (Photo: News Room/August 18, 2021)

The other three patients, Dr. Vaijyanath said, would soon leave the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and continue their post-surgery recovery efforts.

But, the six surgeries done are only part of a much larger plan to engage in more cardiac surgeries to treat cardiovascular diseases in Guyana.

Cardiovascular diseases, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels. And, the WHO says these diseases are the leading cause of death globally.

In Guyana, these diseases are all simply referred to as ‘heart problems’. But, according to a statement from the Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony on September 28, 2020, heart diseases are also the leading cause of death in Guyana.

“A significant percent of the population has been diagnosed with hypertension, or high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease.

“Cardiovascular diseases are caused by unhealthy lifestyles, such as unhealthy diet, excessive alcohol drinking, insufficient physical activity and smoking,” the Health Minister explained.

Dr. Madhu said that the hospital is concerned with the high incidence of ‘heart problems’ and would be working along with this visiting team to offer the much-needed surgeries every six to eight weeks.

And, she highlighted that another five patients have already registered for the next set of cardiac surgeries.

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