A team of local medical professionals have conducted 10 close heart surgeries last week at the Port Moresby General Hospital.
The team was led by local cardiothoracic surgeon Dr Noah Tapaua and anesthetist Dr Arvin Karu during the close heart operations.
The local team was later joined by personnel from Open Heart International on Sunday who assisted them in conducting open heart surgeries.
It was revealed during a media conference at the hospital yesterday that about 21 operations would have been conducted in total with more patients yet to undergo surgery.
At least 10 close heart operations were conducted alone by the local medical team whilst 11 open heart operations were done with the assistance of OHI team.
"The exciting development is, we the local team now, we are doing the close operations by ourselves.
"We have our nurses managing the patients and us operating the patients.
"We are all working as a team – the cardiologists, the pediatric team, the adult, the nursing and the theatre – that’s how far we’ve progressed," Dr Tapaua said.
OHI team leader Dr Warren Wolfers said the open heart operations they have conducted so far have been very successful.
"So, of those 11 open heart cases, 8 of them are out on the ward already, running around and playing.
"Two of them are in intensive care recovering from their surgeries today (yesterday)," Dr Wolfers said.
Dr Wolfers added that the local medical team conducting heart operations at the POM general hospital is the only independent cardio-surgical team in the Pacific.
The hospital chief executive officer Grant Muddle said the hospital management will do what they can to support them after Dr Karo and Dr Noah had returned from their training to form the team.
"We have an agreement with Open Heart and the detail is yet to be confirmed but we will have two visits from OOH in 2016 and 2017.
Mr Muddle said things may go well for 2018 and 2019 visits however "with the plan that in four to five years, we will have our own stand-alone cardiac program operating in PNG at POM Gen."
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