Zahid Ul Haq Amin, 21 yr old Pakistani, who has been based in Abu Dhabi for the past one and half years suffering from a rare heart defect was saved by UAE doctors.
Zahid was working as a blue collar worker was brought to Al Ahlia Hospital, Mussaffah, last week with shortness of breath and heart failure.
“The patient was very young for heart failure,” said Dr Santosh Mathew, consultant cardiac surgeon.
“Upon investigation, we found that his heart was divided into three chambers instead of the normal two that every person has. This is a rare congenital defect which occurs only in one in a million people,” said Dr Santosh.
The defect is a congenital heart defect where the left atrium (cor triatriatum sinistrum) is subdivided by a thin membrane, resulting in three atrial chambers.
“He was found to have a heart with three atria in which the left atrium was divided into two compartments by a membrane,” said Dr Santosh.
In addition, Zahid had a large defect in the wall separating the right and left atria called atrial septal defect with abnormal pulmonary venous drainage.
“Usually this type of heart defect is detected in infancy or childhood, but this patient had a delayed presentation which is seen in very few cases,” said the doctor. He added that normally such cases do not survive beyond infancy since the heart defect puts huge pressure on the lungs.
Zahid was immediately taken for an open-heart surgery in which the abnormal membrane was removed and the anomalous vein was redirected to the proper heart chamber and the septal defect closed with a patch.
The surgery was also performed by Dr Nirav Sangani, specialist cardiothoracic surgery. The patient is currently recovering.
Zahid, who belongs to Peshawar and is due to fly home in a couple of days, said that he was doing much better. “I have these symptoms earlier and had consulted doctors in Pakistan but did not receive proper treatment,” he said.
A friend of Zahid’s who rushed him to the hospital during the emergency said: “I saw him struggling to breathe and he was clutching his chest with pain so I took him to the hospital immediately.”
Although congenital heart defects are present since birth, some may go undetected and may lead to symptoms and complications in adulthood. They can be diagnosed by an echocardiogram.
Surgery can be performed to treat such defects that will prevent further damage to the heart improve symptoms and increase survival, said the doctor.