History Is Made As University Of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH Performs First Open Heart Surgery


The University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH has performed its first open heart surgery six years after signing MoU with USA-based VOOM foundation.

History Is Made As University Of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH Performs First Open Heart Surgery

The University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH, has performed its first open heart surgery six years after it signed a Memmoradum of Understanding (MoU) with an United States-based VOOM Foundation.

According to SunnewsOnline, the six-and-half hours of surgery was successfully carried out on a patient at 6:45pm on September 15, 2021 when the patient recieved a Mitral Valve replacement.

The Chief Medical Director of UCTH, Prof Ikpeme Ikpeme, who disclosed this in a statement made avaialble to journalists in Calabar on Thursday, said the surgery was as a result of two years of hardwork, determination, sacrifice, vision and focus at different levels of our hospital.

Ikpeme, a professor of orthopaedics, said at this early stage, they are offering these surgeries at 30% of their actual cost as the programme belongs to UCTH and can only be sustained when we work as a team.

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The statement read in part: “History was made in our UCTH, when the first ever open heart surgery was performed in our hospital and the patient safely wheeled out to our Intensive Care Unit. She had recieved a Mitral valve replacement following about six-and- half hours of surgery.

“The MOU for Open Heart Surgery Missions was signed with the VOOM Foundation sometime in 2015/16.

“Things went quiet until the MOU was reviewed with the Foundation in July/August 2019 and UCTH made a commitment to actualize the programme & domesticate open heart surgery in our hospital.

“We have had to construct a new Theatre Suite using in-house engineering and technical teams. We created a multidisciplinary Heart Surgery Team. We had to clear 2 numbers of 40ft containers from Onne Port, Port Harcourt and invested in equipment such as heart-lung machine, heater-cooler interexchangersystem, cell savers, high end anaesthetic machine, high end monitors, defibrillator with internal pads, ventilators and digital mobile xray system work millions of Naira.

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“And after two years of sacrificial hardwork, doggedness, critical planning and determination against many odds, here we are today.

“As far as I know, we are the first Tertiary Health Institution in South-South Nigeria to accomplish this, and join a group of very few elite centres nationwide.”

Commending the partners, VOOM Foundation, the cardiothoracic unit and the heart surgery team led by Prof Etiuma, for the successful outing so far, the CMD said the management is committed to resuscitating basic services as well as strive to introduce higher end services that will define our existence as a tertiary centre and contribute to the well-being of our people and community.

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According to him, the guiding principle of this Management is to work quietly to achieve the vision and Mission of our hospital and reposition her appropriately in the comity of tertiary health institutions in Nigeria.

He acknowledged that 2021 has been a difficult year as the hospital have struggled to remain afloat but maintained that the heart surgery is a reward for our labour and patriotism to our hospital and nation.