- Neurosurgeon at RAK Hospital saves a four-month-old Nigerian boy from stunted developmental growth and loss of physical and mental activities
- The baby was suffering from fluid accumulation within the brain with progressive swelling of the head
June 24, 2018; Ras Al Khaimah, UAE: Performing a challenging brain surgery against many odds and under critical circumstances, doctors at RAK Hospital saved a four-month-old baby from brain damage, mental retardation and even death.
Abdullahi David, a Nigerian infant was flown in from his native country to Ras Al Khaimah with complaints of progressive swelling in his head due to the accumulation of excessive fluids in his brain. Moreover, because of deteriorated brain function he had lost the ability to smile, an action that he was able to perform effortlessly earlier. Abdullahi's parents had sought RAK Hospital after consulting several hospitals in Nigeria where no one was willing to perform surgery on a small infant due to narrow scope of success and because it could potentially lead to death.
The case further highlighted RAK Hospital's prominence as the destination of choice for medical tourism with an increasing number of people developing confidence in the hospital's top-of-the-line healthcare system.
“The surgery itself was not complicated, but the fact that patient was just a few months old presented a number of challenges,” explained Dr Tinku Jose Kurisinkal, Consultant Neurosurgeon at RAK Hospital who led the procedure, “Baby Abdullahi was suffering from what is known as congenital hydrocephalus, a condition where fluid accumulates within the brain, either because of a blockage or the body's inability to absorb the water. Ordinarily, this cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) protects the brain from mechanical injury, provides nourishment, and carries away waste; however, an excess amount could potentially result in developmental disorders.
“In order to divert the fluid, a plastic tube called shunt was surgically implanted from the brain to create an alternate path from the head through the neck into the abdomen. However, given the very young age of the baby, the procedure was quite a difficult task and credit goes to the entire surgical team for their clinical acumen that made the surgery successful. The procedure was further complicated since giving and maintaining anesthesia in a new-born posed another challenge, but our team of anesthetists managed it smoothly. We also had to take extra precaution to prevent infection to avoid post-op complications,” added Dr Kurisinkal.
The surgery lasted for about 90 minutes and, upon recovery from anesthesia, the baby regained consciousness immediately and the smile was back on his face. He was prescribed short-term anti-seizure medication to prevent any post-surgery seizures, and within days, his parents were able to take him home.
As per a recent research, the incidences of congenital hydrocephalus are highest in Africa and Latin America (145 and 316 per 100,000 births, respectively). Symptoms of the disease in an infant include rapid increase in the size of the head, a bulging or tense soft spot on the top of the head, vomiting, sleepiness, irritability, poor feeding, seizures, deficits in muscle tone and strength, poor responsiveness to touch and poor growth. Studies have also shown that early diagnosis and treatment of hydrocephalus can prevent permanent damage to the brain, and with timely intervention the infant or toddler can lead a normal life.
Complementing the excellent team effort of neurosurgeon, anesthetists and ICU care, Dr Raza Siddiqui, CEO at Arabian Healthcare Group and Executive Director at RAK Hospital added, “I consider RAK Hospital very fortunate to have such skilled human resource to compliment the cutting-edge technology it offers. Our Department of Neurosurgery is quite adept at handling extremely complicated and critical cases with precise and accurate diagnosis and timely surgical intervention. I'd like to congratulate Abdullahi's parents as well as their son gets a new lease on life.
“This case is yet another fine example of how RAK Hospital is emerging as a preferred destination of medical tourism, particularly for performing complicated surgeries,” added Dr Siddiqui.
The proud parents thanked RAK Hospital staff for their help and care they received within the premises.