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Dubai-based doctor saves Pakistani driver with landmark surgery

In a rare surgery that took place for the second time in Dubai, Dr. Girish Chandra Varma performed an aortic root replacement surgery on a 28-year-old Pakistani expat, while his heart was still beating.

Dubai-based doctor saves Pakistani driver with landmark surgery

Aorta is the main artery of the human body that carries pure blood from the heart to the body’s peripheries.

Fakhar Ul Islam, who works as a driver, was first admitted to Thumbay Hospital in Ajman and later referred to NMC Specialty Hospital after a heart failure.

“He was very sick when he came here. He had a complete heart failure and his liver was very huge.,” said Dr. Varma, a consultant cardio thoracic surgeon at NMC Specialty Hospital.

His symptoms included severe chest pain and difficulty in breathing that made him unable to walk.

“After the CT scan, we found out that he had an aneurysm (excessive swelling) in the ascending aorta of 9.5 cm. We couldn’t operate him right away. We had to first stabilise him for two days in the ICU. We took out 4 to 5 liters of fluids from his body before performing an aortic root replacement surgery with reimplantation of both left and right coronary arteries,” Dr Varma added.

The patient’s aortic root was replaced with a prosthetic graft in what’s called a Bentall procedure. The graft comes as a composite conduit – in one end of the conduit, there’s an aortic valve. According to Dr. Varma, it’s a very complex procedure which is not done very commonly around the world.

The patient had a successful recovery and was discharged after nine days. “He was overwhelmed. He was very happy. He said he planned to go back to Pakistan to get married after the surgery was successful,” Dr Varma added.

This was the second time Dr. Varma performed such a surgery in Dubai. Last year he did the Bentall procedure on an Indian expat but, in addition to that, the patient had to go through a coronary bypass surgery.

Dr. Varma claims to be the only surgeon in Dubai to conduct beating heart surgeries.

“We do all our bypass cases on beating heart. We don’t use the cardiopulmonary bypass pump for any patient. All our cases are off pump, on beating heart. This is the latest form of bypass surgery which is being practised in the leading hospitals around the world. By doing this, we are avoiding all the complications of cardiopulmonary bypass pump. This is more physiological. The coronary arteries are present on the surface of the heart. So we immobilise the area where bypass is required with a stabiliser. After stitching the prosthetic graft, we remove the stabiliser. The heart keeps beating while we do the operation on the surface.”

Dr. Varma says 99 per cent of his heart patients are either diabetic or smokers or they have cholesterol derangement.