The Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Department at Makassed Hospital celebrates a new accomplishment that of successfully utilizing the ECMO (Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) technique. On 20/10/2016, Dr. Nizar Hijjeh, Head of the Department, and his surgical team triumphantly employed this technique on young Shaimaa from Jericho, after her case had been rejected by several hospitals and specialised centres.
Shaimaa reached Makassed Hospital in very critical condition. She was suffering from heart failure caused by a malfunction of the mitral_valve and the tricuspid valve, in addition to a life threatening enlargement of the heart’s right atrium and muscle atrophy in her whole body.
During the surgical procedure Dr. Hijjeh was able to remove a third of the right atrium, repair the artery and valve malfunctions and make a hole between the atria, then the treatment was completed by using the new ECMO technique, which entailed hooking Shaimaa’s heart to the ECMO machine for a period of 8 days in order to drain the blood from the veins, add the oxygen and remove the carbon dioxide, warm the blood and then return the blood to the arteries and “pump” the blood through the body. This method, which is used in very few hospitals and centres in the region, allows the blood to “bypass” the heart and lungs, enabling them to rest and get better.
Following the resounding triumph of the surgical procedure and the successful use of the ECMO technique, which led to Shaimaa’s heart and lungs functioning properly, the Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Department celebrated her return to normalcy.