Saving Children … One Little Heart at a Time

Tenwek Hospital in Bomet Province, Kenya

Posted by on Apr 19, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Tenwek Hospital in Bomet Province, Kenya


We have now just finished two weeks of cardiac care at Tenwek Hospital in Bomet Province, Kenya. This is our tenth year of involvement at Tenwek, and we are blessed to continue to partner with Tenwek in the care of children and young adults with congenital and rheumatic heart disease.

Twenty-two operations were successfully accomplished. Diagnoses included severe aortic and mitral regurgitation, mitral stenosis, tetralogy of Fallot, double chambered right ventricle, atrial septal defect, ventricular septal defect, AV canal defect, critical pulmonary stenosis, and partial anomalous pulmonary venous return. There was zero mortality, and all patients were successfully weaned from the ventilator in the operative theater or within a few hours following.

Additionally, more than 120 patients underwent clinical and echocardiographic screening, 46 transesophageal echocardiograms were performed, and three patients underwent diagnostic or interventional catheterization without complication.

We were once again pleased to see patients in follow-up who had undergone operative repair in prior years. A 17 year old young man, who underwent surgery in 2009, returned and informed us that he is an avid football (soccer) participant on his school’s team. Another young boy reports he plans to be “the biggest and baddest cardiologist ever.” A third young man, who is now 19 years old, underwent repair 9 years ago and has applied to medical school. His high school examination results were excellent, and my Kenyan colleagues report his chances for admission are excellent.

In spite of these successes, we were continually reminded that the care we provided was far surpassed by the multitude of patients requiring such care. We were heartbroken to turn away scores of patients due to the limited number of operative slots available. Recognizing these limits, we were pleased to once again see the intellectual and procedural development of our Kenyan colleagues, who are now performing very successful surgical repairs on adult patients, completely independent of outside involvement. Additionally, momentum continues to build toward the construction of a Tenwek Heart Hospital with a high emphasis on the training of cardiac surgeons, perfusionists, anesthetists, cardiologists, intensivists, and nurses.

We are very grateful for the aid from and partnership with the following organizations without which our mission would impossible: World Medical Mission/Samaritan’s Purse, Hearts of East Africa, Take Heart Africa Project (Kenya and USA), Sorin Medical, Medtronic Medical, Emirates Airlines, Vanderbilt University, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, and Rotary Club.

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