Patient treated locally for open heart surgery

A surgeon at Cayman’s newest hospital has performed the first open heart surgery there on a local resident.

Health City Cayman Islands, which opened earlier this year, specializes in cardiac care. The hospital was officially designated a medical tourism facility this week.

The surgery was performed on Bodden Town resident Elsa Robinson, 65, who said she was discharged from the East End hospital Wednesday.

“I feel much better. I’ll only be able to do minor activities like walking for six to 12 weeks,” said Ms. Robinson. She said she began getting “really bad” chest pains in February and remembers the pain lasting for up to six hours.

“I went to the emergency in George Town [hospital], and then they did a electrocardiogram and they found there was something wrong, so they called the cardiologist in TrinCay and made an appointment for me …” said Ms. Robinson.

The cardiologist, Joanna Kregiel, told Ms. Robinson she needed an angiogram to find out if there was a blockage in her heart. An angiogram is an X-ray test that uses a special dye and camera that can be used to look at the arteries near the heart.

“Normally, they send you overseas for an angiogram, but because Health City is open now, they referred me over there,” said Ms. Robinson.

After the angiogram at Health City, Ms. Robinson said the doctors “found a block in the arteries.”

It was decided that she needed coronary artery bypass graft surgery, a procedure that improves blood flow to the heart and is used to treat coronary heart disease. Senior cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon Dr. Binoy Chattuparambil and his team performed the surgery at Health City last week.

Dr. Binoy said she had significant angina for the last four to five months with her angiogram showing four blocks in her coronary arteries.

“Blocks in coronary arteries can be treated in different ways depending on their number, severity, nature, site, and the patient’s condition – for this woman, a bypass was necessary.

“The patient received four grafts to bypass all four of her blockages,” Dr. Binoy said “and went off extremely well with the professional and experienced team we have here at Health City.”

In a Coronary Artery Bypass Graft surgery, the breast bone is split open and the heart is exposed. During the bypass procedure surgeons take a blood vessel from another part of the patient’s body and construct a detour around the blocked portion of the coronary artery.

“The care was very, very professional. All the doctors and nurses, they were coming all the time to look for me and talk to me about the recovery. I got good care over there,” said Ms. Robinson. After the surgery, she said, her family came to visit her every day in the hospital.

Ms. Robinson said she no longer feels any chest pain, but she will have to take extra medication so that her heart can continue to work better.

“Cumulatively, the Health City Cardiovascular and Thoracic team have performed in excess of 2,500 CABG surgeries in our past roles and we’re now thrilled to be able to bring our expertise and experience to the Cayman Islands,” said Dr. Binoy.

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