Nine patients undergo heart operations

Nine heart patients have successfully undergone open heart surgery at the Port Moresby General Hospital thanks to the Operation Open Heart (OOH).

The patients, all adults, include five females and four males from all over Papua New Guinea.

The patients traveled from as far as Wewak, Goroka, Mt Hagen, Lae, Chimbu and Moresby.

The one week operation involved local staff assisted by 10 medical staff from the National Heart Centre Singapore.

The cost for the surgeries has been fully paid by the OOH through its fundraising events and the responsibility of provincial hospitals to send the patient and guardian to Moresby for the operation.

Local cardiothoracic surgeon Dr Noah Tapaua explained that most of the heart patients have been diagnosed with valvular heart disease that occurs when a valve does not close tightly.

Dr Tapaua said the common problem here is Rheumatic heart disease.

This describes a group of short-term and long-term heart disorders that can occur as a result of rheumatic fever.

Rheumatic fever (RF) is an inflammatory disease that can involve the heart, joints, skin, and brain.

RF causes your body to attack its own tissues after it's been infected with the bacteria that causes strep throat.

“It’s a common flu that we get from cough or pneumonia which stimulates that immune response which starts to attack the valves.

“While trying to kill the bacteria it also attacks the valves and destroys it.

“Many of these patients diagnosed with Rheumatic heart disease may have been affected while they were children and it developed until now,” Dr Tapaua explained

In the past 23 years, over 1,000 cardiac patients have successfully gone under the knife through OOH.

Quintina Naime