Abu Dhabi surgeons remove 'tennis ball tumor' from patient's heart

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES

Safia Farah Jama, a 61-year-old Somali national came to Burjeel Hospital in Abu Dhabi with a complicated case involving a large tumor inside her heart.

Cardiac tumors are extremely rare and Mrs. Safia’s tumor was the size of a tennis ball. Her tumor was interfering with the normal blood flow inside her heart, affecting the function of the mitral valve – one of the major valves in the cardiac system.

Surgeons at Burjeel Hospital, one of the country’s leading private healthcare facilities, took the case and performed the surgery totally free as part of the hospital’s commitment to provide 200 free cardiac surgeries throughout 2017. 

Dr. Walid, Safia and her son

This initiative is in support of the decree passed by UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, making 2017 the Year of Giving. The larger focus for Burjeel Hospital is to serve the community and perform 1,000 free cardiac surgeries in the next five years.

The tumor in Mrs. Safia’s heart was causing severe episodes of rapid heart rate, heart attacks, and bouts of dizziness and fainting. Tumors that block blood flow can also cause heart failure, stroke and blood clots, which can be fatal.

“Our investigations revealed that the best approach to lower the risk was to remove the tumor in Mrs. Safia’s heart,” said Professor Dr. Walid Shaker, Consultant and Head of Department - Cardiac Surgery, Burjeel Hospital in Abu Dhabi. 

“The surgery was highly demanding and very complicated. The tumor was attached to the mitral valve, which made it very difficult to remove without the risk of damaging an important valve.”

A team of renowned medical experts led by Professor Dr. Shaker operated on Mrs. Safia, while making sure she is particularly comfortable during the whole procedure.  

“We completed the surgery successfully and removed the tumor. She was discharged five days after the surgery and has seen a remarkable change in her health since. I am extremely proud of the team’s efforts in saving her life,” added Professor Dr. Shaker.

“I had given up hope, especially since cardiac surgery is so expensive. Our family cannot afford it. My health was failing and my family was extremely worried,” said Mrs. Safia.

“This was like an answer to our prayers. Burjeel Hospital gave me a second life. I would also like thank Dr. Shaker and his team for their great efforts. Our family will forever be grateful.”

Mrs. Safia’s medical operation was among the first free surgeries conducted by Burjeel Hospital as part of its Year of Giving campaign.

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