Top surgeon to perform ‘Ross’ procedure in Doha today
LANI ROSE R DIZON
DOHA LEADING transplant surgeon Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub, who is widely considered to be one of the most experienced practitioners of the Ross procedure (pulmonary autograft) in the world, will for the first time perform the procedure in Qatar on Monday.
He will join a team of paediatric cardiac surgeons from the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) to operate on a 12-year-old Yemeni patient at the HMC’s Heart Hospital.
The operation entails replacing a person’s diseased aortic valve with their own pulmonary valve, and in turn replacing that pulmonary valve with a homograft (a valve taken from a donor). It is considered the operation of choice in treating children with diseased aortic valves as the replaced valve then grows along with them into adulthood.
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the second Qatar Heart Science Series which concluded in Doha on Sunday, Yacoub said, “Aortic valve diseases can produce severe disability. The aortic valve can be affected by a variety of diseases including congenital malformations and rheumatic heart disease, which is a big problem in some countries in the region — particularly in Yemen and Egypt. It is important to understand its causes, its treatments and how to prevent it.” Yacoub, who is also a co-chairman of the Qatar Cardiovascular Research Center (QCRC), said that rheumatic heart disease is a disease of the developing countries which affects up to 15 million people in the world. About 250,000 people die from the disease every year, out of which many of whom are children.
Currently, there is not enough statistical data in Qatar to know the prevalence of aortic valve diseases.
“That is why we are here, to help generate that knowledge and understand how some of these diseases occur in this country and the impact of that to both the Qatari population and also the expatriates. We’re trying to understand exactly how these diseases differ, from place to place and how they’re similar as well,” said Dr Robert Bonow, a Goldberg Distinguished Professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
On the latest treatments, Yacoub said that aortic valve disease was part of QCRC’s translational research programme in Qatar. He said one of the on-going studies at QCRC is a research on tissue engineer valve using stem cells made by nanotechnology to create a living valve. The study is being made in collaboration with the Imperial College.
Dr Iacopo Olivotto, a member of the scientific board at QCRC, also said, “Qatar is actually proposing itself as a hot spot for research for the entire area. And one of the reasons people here are trying hard to put up with research is to improve the status of the Gulf region.” Talking about the Ross operation, Professor Franco Cecchi, member of the scientific board at QCRC, said that a long term follow-up of valves, implanted with Ross operation have a better outcome than prosthetic valves in young people. The valves also last longer than 20 years.
The Qatar Heart Science Series, which is jointly organised by the Qatar Cardiovascular Research Center and the Heart Hospital, hosted local and international experts in the field of cardiovascular medicine and research.