How the Cath-lab procedure saved a life in the Heart Centre
On Sunday, 3rd May 2020, just like any other day at the Outpatient department it was quite busy, patients waiting in queues for the doctors and so many other activities at the triage area and the cash point. Among the patients we received was a 69year old lady who arrived at the entrance on a boda-boda being supported by a relative. Due to her condition she was taken straight to the Emergency Unit with severe chest pain and within minutes of arrival suffered a cardiac arrest as they were carrying out an ECG. Our emergency staff did their best to manage the patient until she was brought back to her rhythm. But her condition continued to remain critical with continued chest pain and very low blood pressure (cardiogenic shock)
Immediately after resuscitation, the ECG scan done confirmed the diagnosis of a heart attack and as they consulted with the Cardiologist he immediately recommended for an intervention. After the next of kin was briefed she contacted their family doctor who recommended the same procedure. It was at this stage that the relatives started mobilizing funds as they were not prepared for any procedure.
While the other formalities were being worked out, the patient was immediately transferred to the Heart Centre for more advanced care where the cardiac staff had already arranged for the procedure. Within hours the Interventional Cardiologist was already in the Cath-lab Procedure Room preparing the patient for an Angioplasty (A medical procedure that opens up a blocked artery around the heart to improve blood flow).
I would probably imagine that this patient did not expect to undergo such a procedure which required great expertise but we thank God that she was in the right place at the right time. The outcome could have been worse if the Hospital had not acquired this Cath-lab machine and opened the Heart Centre because according to the doctor she had very few chances of survival if they had not made a timely intervention.
All this happened during the Covid-19 Pandemic crisis when the lockdown limited the supply of branded drugs and sundries, movement of Cath-lab nurses who stay in Kampala and shortage of funds with limited ways of acquiring money for procedures. However, despite all complications in these abnormal times, the facility was able to execute the proper treatment our patient deserved.
She was discharged on her third day in the hospital and as I stood at the Heart Centre Reception watching her walk out very excited waving at the nurses appreciating their efforts in working tirelessly to save her life, deep down I wondered how many patients in this part of the world die before getting this specialized treatment. It could have been worse if she had come before these new services were introduced in our hospital.
Since December 2019 when Kisubi Hospital unveiled the Heart Centre, we have treated a number of patients and carried out several investigations and procedures hence saving lives. Many patients we have worked on had been recommended by their doctors to fly to India for further treatment but when they realized that our facility can comfortably handle they booked in and successfully underwent treatment.
Since we launched the Heart Centre we have had two Cardiac Camps so far which were very successful and created awareness to the public who had no knowledge of our new services. Our Interventional Cardiologist, Dr. Shetty Sanmath and the Pediatric Cardiologist, Dr. Prossy Mugaba are available for consultation during the week and on call in the non-peak hours which makes it easy to reach them.
It is because of the availability of these specialists that we have now started receiving regional patients. We are able to arrange for accommodation and meals for such patients who are away from home.
Patient Care Coordinator
Our Lady of Consolata – Kisubi Hospital