The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Heart surgery feat claim

Bangalore, Sept. 19 (PTI): A unique surgery has been carried out here on a patient born with his heart on the right side of the chest.

“It is probably the very first time in the world that surgery has been performed on the beating heart of a patient with the heart on the right side, a condition called dextrocardia,” Dr Vivek Jawali, who performed the surgery, said. Jawali is the chief cardio-vascular surgeon at the city-based Wockhardt Hospital and Heart Institute.

The surgery was performed on September 3. Jawali, who has over 13,000 heart surgeries to his credit, including several rare cardiac operations, performed a triple coronary bypass surgery on the beating heart of an 80-year-old patient, Patil. Only 14 patients have undergone this procedure the world over. But all of them were operated upon using a heart-lung machine unlike this case, Jawali said.

The surgeon said “dextrocardia is a very demanding situation for even an experienced heart surgeon who is used to the movements tuned to the heart being on the left side of the patient’s chest”.

Patil, a Hubli-based farmer, is a diabetic and the father of a cardiologist. He had been complaining of chest pain for the past few months even after mild exertion.

A coronary angiography of the patient revealed severe narrowing of his left main coronary artery and the right coronary artery. Jawali, however, was in for a surprise when he viewed the angiogram which revealed that the patient had a reversed heart location.

He said the decision to operate on a beating heart was taken mainly due to the patient’s long-standing diabetic condition. Using a heart-lung machine could have posed a great risk to his life.

Jawali said a coronary bypass surgery on patients with dextrocardia requires tremendous dexterity. The operation took four hours and the patient was discharged after five days. “This is an amazing feat which has changed my life. All the doctors consulted by my family were amazed at my condition,” the patient said on discharge.

Jawali said there were some “unofficial reports” about a similar surgery on a dextrocardiac patient in Hamburg, Germany, a few years ago. But there has been no mention of it in any of the international medical journals, he said. Jawali is planning to submit the literature of the surgery and the patient’s condition to international medical journals.

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