Home News First NC patients undergo electrophysiology surgery in the city

First NC patients undergo electrophysiology surgery in the city


Electrophysiology is used to determine irregular heartbeats.

The team that operated on the first electrophysiology patients in the Northern Cape at Lenmed Royal Hospital and Heart centre this week, Marnie Breedt – Biotronik representative, George van der Merwe – electrophysiology consultant, clinical technologist Thabo Ngaka, electrophysiology specialist Dr Kevin Michael and Sylvia Aléjo – nurse. Picture Danie van der Lith

The first patients in the Northern Cape underwent electrophysiology surgery at Lenmed Royal Hospital and Heart Centre this week.

Visiting electrophysiologist specialist Dr Kevin Michael from Westville Hospital in Durban said that they employed the use of electric pulses to detect irregularities in the heart’s electrical system or activity.

“It is used to diagnose abnormal or irregular heart beats. The surgery is minimally invasive where a catheter is inserted through the groin. Wire electrodes measure electrical activity through the blood vessels in the arteries and chambers. It is also possible to detect blood clots. Any dead tissue or areas that have short circuits are cauterised or frozen. Cardiac ablation is used to restore a normal heart rhythm.”

He added that this procedure was also used to repair damage caused after a patient had suffered a stroke or heart attack.

“Many people may not even realise that they have a fast heartbeat. Usually patients will feel drained as the heart tires.”

Dr Michael indicated that patients could previously only undergo electrophysiology in major centres such as Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.

“Electrophysiologist consultant George van der Merwe had the specialised equipment from Biotronik shipped to Kimberley, at their own cost. This project is part of an outreach to assist patients living in far lying areas. We have a dedicated team including resident cardiologist Dr Dominic Kakooza, anaesthesiologist Dr Phillip Anderson and clinical technologist Thabo Ngaka to conducts these procedures.”

He stated that they already had a waiting list of patients seeking treatment.

“I am scheduled to visit Kimberley once a month but depending on the demand, I may come more frequently, should the need arise.”

Dr Michael said that the patient – a young mother, who was operated on, on Friday was experiencing fainting episodes.

“The prescribed medication was not alleviating her irregular heartbeat. After the procedure she will not need to take any medication. Our first patient was operated on in Kimberley on Thursday.”

He explained that surgery on average took about two and a half hours.

Dr Kakooza who moved to Kimberley from Johannesburg, three months ago added that he was enjoying life in the city.

“You only need to fill your car, once a month and everything is five minutes away.”

He added that a second cardiologist would join him in Kimberley next year.

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