KUALA LUMPUR: Barely two days after undergoing trial surgery for serious congestive heart failure and a leaking mitral valve, retired army personnel Abu Kassim Mat Hassan was chirpy and chatty.
This despite him still being warded at the Intensive Care Unit of Institut Jantung Negara (IJN).
He expressed relief that he could sleep better, breathe easily and was even getting his appetite back – a far cry from his deteriorating condition in 2010 when he was first diagnosed with a heart condition.
The 52-year-old was one of two heart patients in the world to have undergone a groundbreaking surgery performed by IJN on Tuesday to implant the Mardil Medical VenTouch, the latest therapy that targets the root cause of functional mitral regurgitation (FMR), which is the leaking of the valve that connects the left chambers of the heart.
FMR is a condition brought upon by the weakened heart muscle of the failing heart.
The other patient, a Malaysian male aged 43, was also operated on at IJN and is recuperating.
Announcing the clinical milestone yesterday was IJN chief executive officer Tan Sri Dr Robaayah Zambahari, consultant cardiothoracic surgeons Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Azhari Yakub and Datuk Dr Jeswant Dillon.
Dr Mohd Azhari said the surgical procedure was a breakthrough in the country’s research on cardiology.
“This is a first in the world and the next procedure will be done in another country.
“We need three months to monitor the progress of these patients before we can move on to more,” he said.
He said the success of the therapy would revolutionise the way congestive heart failure was treated here.
Each year, he said an average of 500 heart failure cases were registered, adding that from 2009 to 2013, IJN registered 2,518 admissions for such cases.
Dr Jeswant said the best part of the therapy was that it uses a minimally invasive “key-hole” approach rather than open heart surgery.