By Sola Ogundipe
Recently, two Nigerian Consultant Cardiologists at the Tristate Heart and Vascular Centre, Babcock University Teaching Hospital, Ogun State, performed a complicated medical procedure known as cardiac catheterization.
During the procedure, they inserted a thin, hollow tube called a catheter into the large blood vessel that leads to the heart of a patient.
They examined the functional state of the heart, checking for diseases of the heart muscle, valves and coronary (heart) arteries. It was the first time such procedure would be solely carried out by Nigerian-trained medical specialists at the health institution.
The doctors acquired in one year what they would require up to three years and 300 assisted procedures in the Cath lab to master.
The duo, Dr. Ifeoluwa Adewoye and Dr. Mirabel Nwosu, were the first set of Cardiovascular Interventionists trained in Nigeria. They were trained under the tutelage of Prof Kamar Adeleke, the CEO of the Centre and Dean of the department of Cardiology,
Adeleke, who is Professor of Medicine/Cardiology at Babcock University, President and CEO of Tri State Cardiovascular Institute, and Chief, Division of Cardiac Catheterization and Interventional Laboratory at University College Hospital in Ibadan, described the feat as very remarkable.
According to Adeleke who has a mission to save millions of Nigerians from the burden of cardiovascular disorders, provision of advanced cardiovascular services is essential towards strategic development of training and developing local capacity for the treatment of advanced cardiovascular related ailments in the country.
Noting that it is the fastest in history as regards the training in Interventional Cardiology procedure, he said in the United States, the government pays $100,000.00 per trainee but Tri State and Babcock University footed the bill for the training and remuneration of the trainee with the expectation that they would become part of the local team afterwards.
In 2013, Adeleke led a team of specialists from his practice in Delaware in the US to carry out the first successful open heart surgery at the University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan, Oyo State.
He was responsible for training 15 nurses at the UCH in critical care, but in order to carry out the first open heart surgery at the UCH, he had to bring in perfusionists, anaestiologists and nurses, among other specialists from the US.
However, by the time the foreign experts left the UCH, 100 per cent of the surgeries there were being done by Nigerians. Adeleke’s antecedents as a skilled and experienced surgeon in cardiology and cardiovascular medicine paved the way for the success in Nigeria.
As the Chief of Cardiology at St. Francis Hospital in Wilmington, Delaware, USA for 10 years, Adeleke spearheaded the opening of the Open Heart Surgery and Cardiac Catheterization and Interventional Laboratory which he directed for 12 years before stepping down as director in 2014 to become the Chair, Division of Cardiology at Ben Carson School of Medicine of Babcock University, Ilishan, Ogun State.
In his view, the feat at Babcock was significant for a number of reasons. It is known that cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and strokes) have been rising steadily in the country, and that most of those struck by the ailments are either undiagnosed or have no access to treatment.
Available statistics reveal estimate that at least 2 million Nigerians died from NCDs over the past four years even as 1 out of every 5 Nigerian adults over the age of 30 is believed to be at risk of premature death from NCDs, including cardiovascular diseases.
Breakthroughs: Said Adeleke: “Tri State is going to make sure there is an impressive state-of-the-art cardiovascular facility in every corner of Nigeria and we will make sure the cost is very affordable because that is the key.
“We have done 132 open heart surgeries with success rate of about 98.5 per cent and a success rate of 100 per cent in the Cath lab.
“We have made major breakthroughs in research to reduce the cost of intervention. To do one open heart surgery, we are charging $5,000-$6000.
“In the US, one open heart surgery is going to cost $75,000-$150,000, and here in Nigeria we are using equipment that is equal and probably better that what is available in the US. So that is impressive. We know we can do it and provide it. Tri State is the first to attempt this in Nigeria.”
In his argument, Adeleke explained that as a distinguished authority in the area of clinical care and teaching, Tri State is aggressively training Nigerians while carrying out research.
From research, the increase in recent times of confirmed and suspected cases of High Blood Pressure, cardiac arrests, heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular-related disorders has come into sharp focus. Every day, reports of persons slumping and dying make the rounds.
According data from Teaching Hospitals across the Federation, 20-30 per cent of admissions are related to heart failure.
“When you are having a heart attack, the most important thing is what is happening in your heart. We must get into your heart within 90 minutes,” Adeleke pointed out.
“ As stop gap, TriState is trying to develop local capacity for resolving heart-related problems. When we moved to Babcock, we started the Tri State Heart and Cardiovascular Centre with intention of taking the services closer to the people. The idea is to set up as many centres as possible through investments and engagement, so that people with critical cases would not die needlessly.