BACKGROUND: Heart disease is a disabling condition and necessary surgical intervention is often lacking in many developing countries. Training of the superspecialties abroad is largely limited to observation with little or no opportunity for hands on experience. An approach in which open heart surgeries are conducted locally by visiting teams enabling skills transfer to the local team and helps build to build capacity has been adopted at the Uganda Heart Institute (UHI). OBJECTIVES: We reviewed the progress of open heart surgery at the UHI and evaluated the postoperative outcomes and challenges faced in conducting open heart surgery in a developing country. METHODS: Medical records of patients undergoing open heart surgery at the UHI from October 2007 to June 2012 were reviewed. RESULTS: A total of 124 patients underwent open heart surgery during the study period. The commonest conditions were: venticular septal defects (VSDs) 34.7% (43/124), Atrial septal defects (ASDs) 34.7% (43/124) and tetralogy of fallot (TOF) in 10.5% (13/124). Non governmental organizations (NGOs) funded 96.8% (120/124) of the operations, and in only 4 patients (3.2%) families paid for the surgeries. There was increasing complexity in cases operated upon from predominantly ASDs and VSDs at the beginning to more complex cases like TOFs and TAPVR. The local team independently operated 19 patients (15.3%). Postoperative morbidity was low with arrhythmias, left ventricular dysfunction and re-operations being the commonest seen. Post operative sepsis occurred in only 2 cases (1.6%). The overall mortality rate was 3.2. CONCLUSION: Open heart surgery though expensive is feasible in a developing country. With increased direct funding from governments and local charities to support open heart surgeries, more cardiac patients access surgical treatment locally.
Aliku, T. O., Lubega, S., Lwabi, P., Oketcho, M., Omagino, J. O., & Mwambu, T. (2014). Outcome of patients undergoing open heart surgery at the Uganda heart institute, Mulago hospital complex. African Health Sciences, 14(4), 946–953. https://doi.org/10.4314/ahs.v14i4.25