The Heart Surgery University Hospital performed a mitral valve replacement procedure on 10 October. This is the first such surgery of its kind in Syria and in the region. The patient was a 48-year-old woman.
The operation was done via an endoscope, through a small incision from the side. Endoscopic decreases recovery time — the patient should be back on her feet within 10 days, as opposed to a possible 3-months recovery via the surgery performed through opening the chest. Endoscopy also decreases a variety of potential problems such a bleeding, adhesions, keloid scarring and pain.
The mitral — or, bicuspid — valve allows for proper passage of blood from the upper heart chambers into the lower ones. If this valve becomes hardened, or leaks, blood flow is impeded.
The replacement valve is either mechanical or from animal tissue.
Dr. Hussam Kheder, Director of the Heart Surgery University Hospital, told SANA that the procedure took approximately 3 hours and that the patient is expected to return to normal functioning within 10 days.
This is the second surgical breakthrough since June when Syria’s first corneal transplant returned sight to a blind woman. Given the draconian sanctions against the Syrian Arab Republic, such breakthroughs are almost to be considered miraculous. Dr. Kheder stated that more historic surgeries are expected to soon be performed.
Part of the plan to destroy Syria was to target its thriving health sector where hospitals, with all its staff, equipment and ambulances slaughtered and blown up, Syria offers free health care from fever to cancer treatment to its citizens.
The Heart Surgery University Hospital opened in 1974. Located in Damascus, the facility has 3 surgical theaters, 100-floor beds, and 14 Intensive Care Unit beds. It cares for patients of all age groups.
Dr. Kheder noted that 70% of operations at the Heart Surgery University Hospital are completely free and that 30% of patients are charged nominal fees.