First of many open-heart surgeries performed in Limpopo

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

An open-heart operation performed by doctors in Limpopo is set to be the first of many surgeries that will see the province reduce its number of patient referrals to other provinces.

Medical staff, led by Cardiothoracic Surgeon and Professor Marule Lucas Mohlala at Mankweng Hospital in Limpopo, performed the open-heart surgery on a patient from Tzaneen on Thursday.

The operation is described as a “huge left atrial myxoma”. An atrial myxoma is a non-cancerous tumour in the upper left or right side of the heart and most often grows on the wall that separates the two sides of the heart. If left untreated, an atrial myxoma may be fatal.

According to the doctors, the operation lasted around three hours, during which the heart was stopped for about one hour and 45 minutes, and restarted successfully thereafter.

Following the surgery, Limpopo Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba visited the team on Friday and thanked them for their skilful work, adding that this would reduce the need to transfer patients to other provinces for treatment.  

“This will restore public confidence in our system. Thanks to Prof Mohlala and the team. We will reduce trips to Gauteng province for such major operations,” said the MEC.  

The 42-year-old patient is said to be recovering well in the hospital’s intensive care unit as she is fully conscious, talking and eating, and is expected to be discharged soon.

The South African Medical Association’s Angelique Coetzee said: “This is terrific news and the team under the leadership of the Acting Head of Clinical Care Services at the hospital, Dr Seshoka Muila, should be extremely proud of what they have achieved. SAMA would like to congratulate the hospital and the province on this successful surgery.”

SAMA said this successful surgery proves that there are incredibly capable and competent medical professionals throughout the country.

“The challenge now is to increase this number of specialists at all public hospitals in all provinces to provide healthcare to the nation,” said Coetzee. –