Cardiothoracic & Vascular Clinic
Cardiothoracic & Vascular Clinic

At GIH Cardiothoracic & Vascular Clinic goal is to provide you with the finest medical care and to restore you as quickly as possible to good health. When we care for you or a member of your family, we want to ensure that you understand your condition as well as your procedure and follow-up care. At our Cardiothoracic & Vascular Clinic we specialise in surgery of the heart, lungs, chest, oesophagus and the major blood vessels of the body. For many years the GIH Cardiothoracic & Vascular Clinic (CTV) has proudly offered Uganda the most specialised and innovative cardiac, thoracic, vascular, transplantation and paediatric surgical care. Located in Gulu, Uganda, GIH CVT Clinic offers state of the art surgical treatment options, comprehensive care and 24 hour availability. Our goal is to provide you with the finest in medical care and to restore you as quickly as possible to good health.

Cardiac Surgery

Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting

What Is Coronary Artery Disease?

The heart consists of four chambers: the left atrium and right atrium (upper chambers) and the left ventricle and right ventricle (lower chambers). The heart receives oxygen-depleted blood from the body, pumps it to the lungs to receive a new supply of oxygen and then sends this oxygen-rich blood back to the body. Arteries carry blood away from the heart to the rest of the body and veins carry blood from various parts of the body back to the heart. The coronary arteries that supply the heart muscle itself are especially important because they carry oxygenated blood back to the heart allowing it to work efficiently. If an artery becomes clogged, blood cannot flow through it smoothly. High blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking can all contribute to a build up of plaque (fatty substances and calcium) along the inner walls of the arteries. As this plaque builds up the space inside the artery becomes narrower, as a result of narrowed arteries, the blood flow to the heart becomes restricted and therefore the heart cannot get enough oxygen. If an artery becomes completely blocked you may have a heart attack. When a coronary artery is blocked your doctor may have to perform an operation to bypass the damaged portion of the artery and restore proper blood flow to the heart. Although the procedure is serious, it is not uncommon as there are more than 500,000 coronary bypass operations performed worldwide every year.

What Takes Place During Surgery?

In this operation, a healthy blood vessel from another part of the body is attached to the damaged artery, bypassing the blocked portion and allowing blood to flow freely to the heart once again. The blood vessels most commonly used for the bypass are the internal mammary arteries along the inside of the chest wall or the saphenous veins in the legs. The surgeon will make a cut down the centre of the chest and then separate the breastbone. The heart is then stopped and cooled, during which time your blood is routed through a heart-lung machine. This machine supplies the body with oxygen and pumps it through the body during the operation. The bypass vessel is removed from the chest, arm or leg. One end is of it is then sewn onto an opening in the coronary artery beyond the blockage, if a mammary artery is used, the other end will already be attached to a branch of the aorta. This will allow blood to flow to the heart, as it should. After the bypass is complete, you will be removed form the heart-lung machine and your organs will once again take over. The entire procedure usually takes between 3 ¨C 6 hours.

Arrhythmia Surgery

What Is Arrhythmia?

Arrhythmia refers to any abnormal heartbeat. Irregular heartbeats are not uncommon and many people experience an occasional ¡®fluttering¡¯ of the heart or feel that their heart ¡®skips a beat¡¯, especially as they get older. In some cases, arrhythmia can be a dangerous condition requiring medical treatment including surgery and/or medical devices to correct it. The speed and pattern of your heartbeat are both regulated by electrical signals from within your heart. The signals tell the upper chambers of your heart (Atria) to contract and move blood to the lower chambers of your heart (Ventricles) and tell the ventricles to contract and move blood to the lungs and around the body. Special electrical cells, called the sinus node, create and send these signals. If there is a problem with these signals, your heart may beat too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia), or irregularly (arrhythmia). When the signals are sent quickly and irregularly, the heart muscle may quiver and fail to beat at all, causing a condition known as fibrillation. Fibrillation can cause the formation of blood clots or cardiac arrest.

Surgical Treatments
  • Cardioversion

This is a process in which the chest wall is exposed to a well-controlled and perfectly timed electrical shock.

  • Pacemaker

A pacemaker is designed to control an unusually slow heart rhythm. It consists of a small lightweight electronic device that is placed permanently in the chest. The pacemaker continuously monitors your heart rhythm to detect abnormalities and when necessary it generates an electrical signal, which is similar to your hearts natural signals, to regulate your heartbeat at a constant speed.

  • Maze Procedure

This procedure creates a ¡°Maze¡± of new pathways for electrical impulses to travel from the top to the bottom of the heart. It restores a regular coordinated heartbeat, abolishes fibrillation and restores coordinated pumping to the upper chambers of the heart.

Following The Surgery

Device Implants

Your doctor will monitor your pacemaker regularly to ensure that it is working correctly and will make adjustments if necessary. Most electrical devices do not interfere with modern pacemakers so you may return to normal activities within a few weeks. Batteries in the device do wear down and will need to be replaced occasionally.

Maze Procedure

After the surgery most patients should expect to spend between 5-7 days in the hospital, including 1-2 days in the ICU. Full recovery may take 2-3 months.

Paediatric Cardiac Surgery

Paediatric Open Heart Surgery

  • Hypoplastic Left Heart
  • Repair Atrial and Ventricular Septal Defects
  • Repair Interrupted Aortic Arch (IAA)
  • Atrioventicular Septal Defect
  • Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF)
  • Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Connection (TAPVC)
  • Double Outlet Right Ventricle (DORV)
  • Transposition of Great Arteries (Arterial Switch Operation/ASO)
  • Tricuspid Atresia/Single Ventricle (Staged Reconstruction, including Fontan)
  • Complex Left Ventricular Outflow Tract Obstruction (LVOTO)
  • Truncus Arteriosus
  • Aorto-Pulmonory Window
  • All Emergency and Trauma Surgery

Paediatric Closed Heart Surgery

  • Blalock-Taussig Shunt
  • Litigation of Patient Ductus Arteriorsus
  • Repair of Coarctation of Aorta
  • Pulmonary Artery Banding
  • Transvenous/Epicardial Pacemaker Insertions
  • Pericardiocentesis
  • All Emergency and Trauma Surgery

GIH Stroke & Heart Disease Diagnostic Lab – Package of 53 Medical Health Checks