Health City Cayman Islands has performed its second successful left ventricular assist device heart surgery, allowing another ailing Caribbean national to move to a new beat.
Ralph Wright of the Cayman Islands recently benefited from the complex procedure, which is performed at advanced stages of heart failure when the heart has become severely weakened and unable to pump sufficient blood to the entire body.
“I think this Health City is one of the best things [that] could come to Cayman,” said a relieved Wright after the surgery. “With their skillful hands and through God’s intervention, I think [it] all played a part in making this come true.”
Of the numerous heart surgeries done each year in the United States, only a small percentage are LVADs. Less than 10 similar surgeries are believed to have been performed in South America, and none previously in the Caribbean before Health City successful installed the artificial heart pump for 49-year-old Caymanian Albert Seymour this past summer.
Wright, 55, had been battling a heart condition since 2008 and had a close encounter with death about two years later, after which he was not able to walk. “To be honest with you, I’ve been through about four or five institutes, and the best attention I’ve gotten is here [at Health City]. Now I haven’t said that I haven’t gotten good attention abroad, but I think the aftercare and that person-to-person attention is something that we have here that was not available to me,” he said.
Mild forms of heart failure can be treated with medications, and patients can have a reasonably normal life. But when advanced heart failure occurs, medications won’t be effective, and patients are likely to be incapacitated, homebound and their life expectancy significantly reduced.
The challenge with heart transplants is the availability of a donor heart, lamented chief cardiac surgeon Dr. Binoy Chattuparambil. “We can perform this LVAD surgery here in the Caribbean because we have the infrastructure and team who are well versed with this kind of highly complex procedure—and at half the price of what is being charged in other parts of the world,” he said.
Wright, who was discharged in just nine days, is recovering well at home.
Health City Cayman Islands is the vision of famed heart surgeon and humanitarian Dr. Devi Shetty, who was the personal physician of the late Mother Teresa.