Woman with rare tumour in heart saved through surgery

The type and spread of the tumour -- also known as Myxoma -- led other hospitals to refuse to treat the patient, citing bleak chance of survival.

Woman with rare tumour in heart saved through surgery
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Noida: In one of the rarest medical cases, a 48-year-old woman with a tumour in her heart that cut down its functioning to just 25 per cent got a new lease of life through surgical intervention at a city hospital, medical authorities said on Monday.

The type and spread of the tumour -- also known as Myxoma -- led other hospitals to refuse to treat the patient, citing bleak chance of survival.

Poonam Chaudhary, a resident of Ghaziabad, experienced the first symptoms 10 years ago when she faced constant difficulty in breathing and pain in the heart. As the symptoms were common to several other problems, it went unheeded by the her.

Pain and difficulty in breathing were felt in the initial stages of the tumour. The tumour increased due to the patient avoiding medical treatment. With deterioration in her health over the years, Poonam in April this year had to be rushed to a city hospital.

During the tests it was found that Poonam's heart function was only 25 per cent due to a tumour in her heart. Looking at the risks involved, the hospital refused to even to attempt treatment. Later the patient was taken to Fortis Hospital.

The hospital set up a team and medical treatment was attempted through surgical intervention.

"The tumour occupied one entire chamber (atrium) of the heart, obstructing the flow of blood. The patient could have suffered from sudden cardiac death or congestive cardiac failure," said Vaibhav Mishra, Senior Consultant for Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery at Fortis Hospital.

According to medical science, primary tumours or those that originate in the heart are rare, occurring in one out of 2,000 people, and in the age group 20-50. Tumours that originate in another part of the body and then spread to the heart are called secondary tumours,

A non cancerous primary heart tumour usually develops in the left upper chamber or atrium of the heart and tends to be more common among women. Symptoms include shortness of breath, palpitations, abnormal heart rhythm or sometimes stroke.

Surgery is the only treatment and when done in the early stage, it is quite straightforward, but as the size increases the operation becomes technically demanding and risky, Mishra said.

Elaborating, Mishra told IANS that the tumour was mounting enormous pressure on the neighbouring heart chamber and was hindering the flow of blood. which led to grossly abnormal liver function.

"The tumour was also very friable and could have broken apart from lodging itself into the brain which could have caused a stroke. In a nutshell, considering that out heart is just about the size of our fist, the tumour was large enough to damage the heart and surrounding organs," said Mishra.

"The surgery took more than three hours and was three times more complicated and risky than normal heart surgeries. Such were the complications that almost all body systems of the patient were getting compromised," Mishra told IANS.

Following the surgery, Poonam was kept under observation for three days and discharged after ensuring that every thing was normal. The surgery cost Rs 3.5 lakh.

Asked about her health, Poonam told IANS: "I feel blessed that I got a new life. Doctors at other hospitals had almost lost hope of my recovery."