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A momentous medical feat

...as MNH-Mloganzila performs brain-related surgery

THE Muhimbili National Hospital – Mloganzaila, has for the first time performed a surgical procedure to treat bulging blood vessels in the brain (cerebral aneurysm ), thus enabling local patients to access increased specialised health services

Also known as intracranial aneurysm or brain aneurysm, cerebral aneurysm refers to a bulging, weakened area in the wall of an artery in the brain that results in an abnormal widening, ballooning, cerebral aneurysm.

MNH- Mloganzila Deputy Executive Director Dr Julieth Magandi said yesterday that the operation was performed by local neurosurgeons in partnership with Prof Seung - Kon Huh from Yonsei University Health System in South Korea.

“This is a specialised surgical procedure and according to records, MNHMloganzila is the second public hospital to perform such operation after Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute (MOI).

“There are four or five operations which were performed at MOI and this will be the sixth procedure to be performed in the country,” Dr Magandi noted.

She said that MNH was well organised to offer specialised services especially in the area of cerebral aneurysm, noting that plans were underway to ensure that it invests in modern equipment in order to make the service sustainable.

Dr Magandi further explained that earlier patients were referred to MOI or abroad for treatment but the service will now be accessed at MNH – Mloganzila as well.

She said that for a public patient, the operation alone can cost 200,000/- apart from other costs for equipment, medicines and intensive care services while a private patient can pay up to 1.3m/- .

Patients referred abroad can spend up to 40 m/- covering treatment, transport and other costs.

A neurosurgeon at MNHMloganzila, Dr Raymond Makundi, said that cerebral aneurysm affects almost 3 per cent of all people around the world annually.

He said the complication was dangerous since it weakens the wall of a cerebral artery or vein. thus resulting in an abnormal widening, ballooning, or bleb, posing a risk for rupture (bursting) of the aneurysm, hence threatening the life of a patient.

“At our hospital, we receive an average of between four and six patients per month. Only 50 per cent of patients report to health facilities when the balloon- like bulge of an artery wall rupture while others die,” he further explained.

He said the complication cannot be easily identified due to lack of awareness and shortage of equipment and expertise which could help to detect the disease earlier.

Dr Makundi said symptoms of the disease included frequent headache, double vision and unconsciousness, and when these veins rupture the condition is treated as a stroke.

These are a challenge because a big number of these patients are missed out because they are being treated as stroke. Another neurosurgeon, Dr Alvin Miranda, said that the operation was conducted to stop blood flow in the brain.

He said that when a ruptured aneurysm releases blood into the brain for the first time a patient is at risk of dying by 30 per cent and if repeated it can cause death by between 70 and 80 per cent.

Prof Huh said that he was happy to supervise young Tanzanian neurosurgeons for their first aneurysm clipping.

He said the development will help to expand specialised services especially on neurone related complications.

Prof Huh said there were a number of factors which can contribute to the formation of cerebral aneurysms, among them hypertension, cigarette smoking and complications from some types of blood infections.

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Author: LYDIA SHEKIGHENDA

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