An underlining heart condition that emerged for 66-year-old Arif Abd Allateef (a resident of Baghdad) in 2015 came as a shock for the cancer survivor who was living with just his left lung post an onco-surgery done in on account of removal of his entire right lung for cancer surgery in 2005 in Iraq. Since surgery under the current circumstances was not possible factoring his age cardiologists back home put him on medical management.

However, since June this year, Allateef developed severe chest pain and his health progressed downhill from then. Cardiologists back in his country suggested a surgery but with his single lung, they were not very sure whether the patient would be able to survive.

“The alternative for me, looking at cost effectiveness along with a good surgical outcome was to travel to India,” said Allateef.

The patient was thoroughly examined for his condition and evaluated for surgery by Dr Udgeath Dhir, additional director, CTVS at FMRI and his team.

“There were several challenges in this case starting from his age to the history of his illness and his overall health. The patient had a blockage in one of the main arteries supplying blood to the muscles of the heart but stenting was not viable because of the anatomy of the blockage. They decided to conduct a bypass surgery (CABG – Coronary artery bypass grafting). According to available literature, there have been only 29 such cases of CABG conducted on a patient with a single lung reported world over with mortality of 16%.

The bypass surgery was carried out on a beating heart by carrying out a sternotomy (surgical procedure in which a vertical inline incision is made along the sternum, after which the sternum itself is divided) to reach the chest cavity.

“We also had to ensure that the patient did not face difficulty in breathing post-surgery so we stopped his antiplatelet and put him on high thoracic epidural catheter to ease normal breathing for which special medications and techniques had to be used. The patient was discharged on day 7 of his surgery.

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