A 48-year-old woman with a tumor in her heart got a new lease of life through surgical intervention at a city hospital in Delhi, India. It is one of the rarest medical cases, where the functioning of the heart was cut down to just 25 percent, revealed medical authorities.
The type and spread of the tumor also known as Myxoma led other hospitals to refuse to treat the patient, citing bleak chance of survival.
Poonam Chaudhary, a resident of Ghaziabad, experienced the first symptoms 10 years ago when she faced constant difficulty in breathing and pain in the heart. As the symptoms were common to several other problems, it went unheeded by her.
During the tests it was found that Poonam's heart function was only 25 per cent due to a tumour in her heart. Looking at the risks involved, the hospital refused to even to attempt treatment. Later the patient was taken to Fortis Hospital.
The hospital set up a team and medical treatment was attempted through surgical intervention.
"The tumor occupied one entire chamber (atrium) of the heart, obstructing the flow of blood. The patient could have suffered from sudden cardiac death or congestive cardiac failure," said Vaibhav Mishra, Senior Consultant for Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery at Fortis Hospital.
According to medical science, primary tumors or those that originate in the heart are rare, occurring in one out of 2,000 people, and in the age group 20-50. Tumors that originate in another part of the body and then spread to the heart are called secondary tumors,
A non cancerous primary heart tumor usually develops in the left upper chamber or atrium of the heart and tends to be more common among women. Symptoms include shortness of breath, palpitations, abnormal heart rhythm or sometimes stroke.
Surgery is the only treatment and when done in the early stage, it is quite straightforward, but as the size increases the operation becomes technically demanding and risky, Mishra said.
Elaborating, Mishra told IANS that the tumor was mounting enormous pressure on the neighboring heart chamber and was hindering the flow of blood. which led to grossly abnormal liver function.
"The tumor was also very friable and could have broken apart from lodging itself into the brain which could have caused a stroke. In a nutshell, considering that out heart is just about the size of our fist, the tumor was large enough to damage the heart and surrounding organs," said Mishra.
"The surgery took more than three hours and was three times more complicated and risky than normal heart surgeries. Such were the complications that almost all body systems of the patient were getting compromised," Mishra told IANS.
Following the surgery, Poonam was kept under observation for three days and discharged after ensuring that every thing was normal. The surgery cost Rs 3.5 lakh.
Asked about her health, Poonam told IANS: "I feel blessed that I got a new life. Doctors at other hospitals had almost lost hope of my recovery."