Doctors in Abu Dhabi give 92-year-old grandmother new lease of life

wissamAbu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: June 17, 2015: A 92-year-old Emirati grandmother is back on her feet and enjoying a new lease of life after doctors in the UAE capital successfully performed emergency surgery to save her from a major heart attack and other complications.

The elderly Bani Yas resident was brought to NMC Speciality Hospital in Abu Dhabi by concerned family members after she became unwell and started complaining of shortness of breath. The seriousness of the situation soon became clear as physicians determined she was having a major heart attack caused by a 90-95% blocked coronary artery, in addition to suffering from pneumonia and low blood pressure.

After diagnosing the patient, a team of doctors from the NMC Speciality Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU), led by Dr Wissam Al Sahli, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, initiated treatment using a cocktail of pneumonia-fighting antibiotics and clot-dissolving drugs. They also conducted relevant tests, and prepared to perform an emergency angioplasty, a minimally invasive surgical technique which involves a hollow-tipped balloon catheter to clear blockage in arteries and the placement of a stent to allow blood flow to return to normal.

With precious little time to spare, Dr Al Sahli and his team performed the angioplasty on the 92-year-old and successfully unblocked the affected artery. While all heart surgeries carry risk, the elderly woman was at particular risk due to her age and condition, which made the use of a catheter and the placing of a stent in her coronary artery extremely challenging.

Thanks to expert intervention, however, the patient pulled through and her health improved. She was discharged from the hospital after three weeks of inpatient rehabilitation, and is now doing well and living independently with her family without medical assistance.

Commenting on the procedure, Dr Al Sahli explained: “We are happy we were able to operate in time since the patient’s family didn’t hesitate to bring her to into the hospital. People should be aware of the concept of ‘Golden Hour’ and take the patient immediately to a hospital. The faster we can re-establish normal blood flow to the heart, the less damage there will be.”

“Angioplasties can only be done in hospitals with a proper cardiac catheterisation laboratory, and so it is important that patients suffering from the symptoms of a heart attack are taken to well-equipped cardiac centres, as is the case with all NMC Hospitals across the UAE. If a hospital is not properly equipped, such emergencies can often lead to permanent heart damage or even fatalities,” Dr Al Sahli added.

Fact Box – Main symptoms of a heart attack

  • Shortness of breath – This can include feeling dizzy, nausea or light-headedness
  • Chest discomfort – Feeling of pain, pressure, tightness or squeezing at the centre of your chest
  • Traveling pain – Chest pain can feel like it’s moving to the left arm, or both arms, as well as the jaw, neck, back and abdomen
  • Severe anxiety – Heart attacks can bring on asudden feeling of doom,similar to a panic attack

Fact box – The ‘Golden Hour’

  • The ‘Golden Hour’ is a period of between 60-90 minutes after symptoms begin, where chances of recovery are highest if treatment is administered
  • Dial 999 if you believe you or a loved one is experiencing a heart attack, to receive emergency medical attention
  • Quick treatment is crucial to preventing heart muscle damage and fatalities

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