Doctors at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) have successfully completed heart surgery without opening the organ.
Known as minimally invasive heart surgery, it involves small incisions in the right side of the chest compared to open-heart surgery
It took medical personnel less than one hour to perform the procedure, with little pain and complication.
According to the World Health Organization, congenital heart defects are the most common birth defect.
A 2015 report showed 48.9 million people across the world have the condition.
Ghana’s Health Ministry says averagely 7, 000 children are born annually with one of the defects, hole-in-heart.
For both adults and children, surgical treatment involves stitching or patching abnormal opening between the upper chambers of the heart.
With the new procedure which is a departure from open-heart surgery, doctors insert a thin tube into a blood vessel in the groin to the heart.
Through the tube, a mesh is placed in to close the hole while tissue grows around it to permanently seal it.
Guangdong Provincial People’s Hospital in the People’s Republic of China collaborated with Komfo Anokye Hospital to perform the surgery.
For the first time, doctors also fixed a pacemaker, an electrically charged medical device, surgeon implants under the skin.
The procedure helps to adequately manage heart rate, when it is not fast enough.
KATH Head of Nursing, Georgina Afua Sam, is confident doctors will be able to handle such issues, subsequently.
“This is the first time in Ghana and we are happy our cardiologist had the opportunity to do their pacemaker surgery which has lots of benefits for the patients,” she said.
Leader of the Guangdong Provincial People’s Hospital team, Professor Lin Chunying says it is the Chinese government’s contribution to building capacity of Ghanaian cardiologists.
“From 2014, we have been training doctors in Ghana. First is Dr. Francis of Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and, subsequently, we trained other doctors at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital,” Professor Chunying explained.
Head of Medicine Directorate, Prof Bernard Nkum, hinted of a foundation to support needy patients.
He appealed to government and benevolent organizations to lend their support.
“For those can’t afford we hope to set up a foundation that will take care of these procedures. So we’re appealing to philanthropists and corporate organizations to come to our aid,” he stressed.