Red Cross Hospital makes history with first-in-Africa procedure

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In a first for the African continent and only the third time ever, Eyewitness News reports that a 6-year-old patient from George was the recipient of a cutting-edge non-surgical cardiac procedure at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.

Ruveshni Lewis was born with one ventricle, which resulted in her heart not being able to pump oxygen-poor blood back to the lungs. In a previous procedure, cardiac surgeons were able to divert oxygen-poor blood directly to the lungs, without it having to pass through the missing ventricle. Following this operation, however, a hole or “window” between the by-passing conduit and her heart remained wide open and caused her to become extremely cyanosed or “blue”.

The report says paediatric cardiologists at the hospital performed only the third procedure in the world, to insert a flow regulator into the window to reduce its size and improve the circulation. Paediatric cardiologist Professor Rik De Decker explained that the cardiac catheter lab team implanted a device between the heart chambers to reduce the window size from 10mm to 4mm.

The new device was recently developed in Sweden and isn’t on the market yet, reports News24. “The device is currently undergoing registration in Europe and we got it on a compassionate-use basis, gratis,” said De Decker.

“It has a hole inside, like a blow-off hole to allow some blood to go through. After undergoing six previous procedures, the implantation of the AFR effectively means that Ruveshni won’t need to undergo difficult repeat surgery for this problem, which is wonderful news.”

News 24 report Eyewitness News report

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