In a bid to tell the story of the Lagos State University Teaching hospital’s (LASUTH) Cardiothoracic Surgery Unit, the LASUTH Management recently held a webinar tagged ‘Open Heart Surgery in Nigeria – The Role of LASUTH’.
In his opening address, the Chief Medical Director of LASUTH, Prof. Adetokunbo O. Fabamwo, said that institutionalizing open heart surgery in LASUTH is now a reality. He went down memory lane, as far back as 20 years ago, when the first foreign heart surgery mission was carried out in LASUTH by a surgical team from Chicago in the USA. He narrated the humble beginning as a period for skills transfer which he said has been successfully achieved.
The CMD commended the entire Cardiac Surgery Team for its persistent efforts in carrying out regular Open-Heart Surgery in LASUTH. He noted that though challenges abound, the Board and Management of the hospital are determined to ensure that the ultimate goal is achieved.
The Head of the Cardiothoracic Surgery Unit and Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Mr. Bode Falase gave a detailed history of the emergence of open-heart surgery in Nigeria which dates back to 1974. He pointed out that between 2004 and 2019, the LASUTH team was exposed to a lot of training to scale up the effectiveness of the professionals in the Unit. Such trainings include but not limited to the multi-disciplinary trainings for Surgeons, Intensive Care Nurses, Anaesthetists and Perfusionists in the United Kingdom and India.
Mr. Falase noted that so far, one hundred and two (102) open heart surgeries have been carried out in LASUTH and efforts are being made to increase the number significantly. He went further to highlight the range of cases currently being done.
Mr. Falase said the cardiac team is resolved to reducing the complications associated with of high-risk cases to the barest minimum, and this can be achieved by increasing the capacity to test and consult with more patients so that more patients are operated while their cases are still in the early stages. He explained that such patients have better chances of full and quick recovery.
Pointing out that everything that requires growth will definitely face challenges, Mr. Falase brought to the fore issue of financing surgeries as a challenge that many patients are faced with. He used the opportunity to make a plea to organizations and philanthropic individuals to sponsor patients who need open heart surgeries but are unable to afford such. He said the highly subsidized cost of surgery in LASUTH is about 3.3 million naira. He however, acknowledged some organizations like Ikoyi Golf Club and Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), who are supporting the cause on different fronts.
The LASUTH contribution to the development of open-heart surgery in Nigeria cannot be over-emphasized and this is evident in Mr. Falase’s address when he highlighted the hospital’s contribution to include being among the first few tertiary health institutions that had been performing regular open-heart surgeries for many years.
Other panelists spoke about of the functions of the different Units involved in the process of carrying out a successful open-heart surgery, they highlighted the challenges and pointed out ways that management, government and the public at large can contribute to increase the growth opportunities towards open heart surgeries in Nigeria.
Panelists included Dr. Funmi Ikotun, Consultant Anaesthetist/Intensivist; Dr. Oluwaseye Oladimeji, Consultant Cardiologist; Chief Nursing Officer Anafi Morenikeji, Intensive Care Unit/Cardiac Nurse; Mrs. Adenike Akalakini, Cardiac Physiologist; Mr. Idowu Ariyo, Cardiac Perfusionist; Mrs. Deborah Titus, Perioperative Nurse.
The Acting Director Clinical Services & Training, Dr. Olatunde Odusote gave a vote of thanks.
All in all, the webinar was very informative and well received.