KARACHI: The National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) on Monday announced that a team of its surgeons had successfully implanted the Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD), commonly known as a ‘mechanical pump’, in the chest of an elderly woman patient whose heart desperately needed mechanical support to properly pump blood into her body.
NICVD executive director Prof Nadeem Qamar and US-returned transplant surgeon Dr Pervaiz Chaudhry, who led the surgery, claimed they had slotted in an artificial heart into the chest of the patient.
“Dr Pervaiz Chaudhry led a team of our surgeons today and successfully implanted an artificial heart, technically known as LVAD, to a female patient,” Prof Qamar told reporters at the facility after the surgery concluded.
He said the patient was doing fine after the surgery and would be able to breathe without support and talk to her family from Tuesday (today).
Procedure costs over Rs10m; it was performed for free at the hospital
The NICVD officials said the surgery was the first of its kind in Pakistan — both in public and private sector hospitals.
The LVAD is a supportive device that helps in pumping of blood from the left ventricle of a patient whose heart’s left ventricle has become weak while it does not replace the heart of the patient with the mechanical device.
Caretaker Sindh Health Minister Dr Sadia Rizvi was also present at the briefing.
Prof Qamar said the facility’s ultimate goal was to achieve the target of heart transplant, which, he said, would be a reality within next two years.
“LVAD implants would continue in the days to come and we are going to perform another LVAD transplant in a couple of days at NICVD. We have identified some four to five patients who qualify for the LVAD insertion and these patients would get LVAD implants,” said Prof Qamar.
He said an LVAD implant costs more than Rs10 million, while “not a single penny was received from the patient’s family for the expensive surgery”.
Earlier, NICVD had identified former hockey goalkeeper Mansoor Ahmed as its first patient to receive LVAD, but he died before the surgery could be performed on him.
Prof Qamar said an American nurse, Abigail Boultinghouse, assisted the team of surgeons in the surgery, while doctors, postgraduate students, nurses and technicians were there to learn. He added that the US nurse would train local nurses in dealing with these patients after surgeries.
Dr Chaudhry said he had been performing implant surgeries for a decade. He said the surgery at NICVD was successful.
He said LVAD implant was a “destination therapy” for the patient, who would not require any heart transplant throughout her life as “this device would help her heart pump blood from seven to 10 years”.