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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 September 2018

Abu Dhabi doctors perform rare surgery to save man from heart failure caused by tooth infection

Quadruple valve replacement was carried out on a 22-year-old Egyptian patient 

Surgeons perform a heart operation at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. Photo Courtesy: Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi
Surgeons perform a heart operation at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. Photo Courtesy: Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi

Doctors in Abu Dhabi have saved the life of a man, whose tooth infection almost led to heart failure, by performing a rare surgery.

Medics at the private Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi carried out the quadruple valve replacement procedure on a 22-year-old Egyptian man.

The patient was suffering from acute infective endocarditis, a potentially deadly inflammation of the inner lining of the heart and its valves.

The “high risk” operation took four hours to complete and involved stopping the patient’s heart for 70 minutes.

“Quadruple valve replacement surgeries are very rare,” said Dr Rakesh Suri, chief executive of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

“Only a few heart centres in the world are equipped with the technology, sophisticated therapies and specialist physicians capable of preparing the patient for the operation, doing the surgery and getting the patient through the postoperative course.”

Infective endocarditis is considered an extremely serious infection associated with substantial morbidity and mortality rates.

The condition develops when bacteria enter the bloodstream and attach to previously injured heart valves.

A number of published studies have reported in-hospital mortality figures for those suffering from the condition as between 15 to 20 per cent. Some 40 per cent of patients die within 12 months of the operation.

In the United States alone, approximately 15,000 new cases of infective endocarditis are diagnosed each year.

Medics at Cleveland Clinic said the patient developed acute infective endocarditis following a tooth extraction while he was visiting the UAE last December.

Doctors subsequently diagnosed him with pneumonia, and the infection spread through his body, damaging all four heart valves.

The man was transferred to Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi in January where a team of heart and vascular surgeons took the decision to proceed with the surgery. The man has since been discharged and is now back in Egypt recovering well.

The patient was told that the operation was high-risk, said Dr Gurjyot Bajwa. “But without it, he would not have survived,” she said.

Factors in his favour included a lack of heart disease history and his young age.

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“It was a time-critical, efficiently run operation and that was the key to getting him off the table alive,” said Dr Bajwa.

“This is a remarkable operation,” said Marc Gillinov, Cleveland Clinic’s Chair of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery who is based in the United States.

“Very few teams in the world could perform an operation of this complexity and achieve such a successful result.”

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