History of thoracic and cardiovascular in Department of Surgery

 

Records indicate the unit of thoracic and cardiovascular services officially started as an independent service at the Kenyatta National Hospital in 1973.  This unit was housed in the general surgical wards within what is today called the “old hospital”. 

However when the new hospital tower building was opened in 1984, the unit was given its own specialty ward, ward 12 which later was renamed ward 4B.

However when the new hospital tower building was opened in 1984, the unit was given its own specialty ward, ward 12 which later was renamed ward 4B.

HISTORY OF OPERATIVE PROCEDURES

In time past various procedures in the specialty were performed by general surgeons with an interest in this field.  From our records of “specialised surgeries” procedures range from as far back as the late fifties.  A summary is presented below;

Procedure

Date of first procedure

Surgeon

Pericardiectomy

April 17th 1957

Gerald E. Neville

Closed mitral valvotomy

December 18th 1957

Grattan

PDA ligation

February 26th 1970

P. Bhatia

Blalock Taussig Shunt

April 29th 1971

E.O.W. Knight

Pulmonary artery banding

June 29th 1971

E.O.W. Knight

Both thoracic and vascular procedures in the earlier era were also performed by general surgeons with the interest, namely Dr. Roy Miller, Dr, Dhall, the late Prof. A. Wasunna and others

The first open heart in this institution took place in 1973, and Atrial Septal Defect closure.  This was under total body hypothermia and the team lead by E.O.W. Knight and consistedof Dr.Ayim as the anaesthetist.

Following review of the programme and receipt of equipment donated through Japan International Corporation Agency the programme officially launched in 1975.  The operating teams at the time were led by Prof Fujita and the anaesthetic team lead by Dr. Dave while the nursing team lead by Sister Zingg.

Earliest heart operations can be summarised thus;

Operations

Date

ASD closure

June14th 1973

ASD closure (Hypothermia)

May 27th 1975

First mitral valve replacement

August 27th 1976

First aortic valve replacement

September 23rd 1976

First Total correction of Tetralogy of Fallot

January 18th 1978

First double valve replacement

April 27th 1978

First coronary bypass operation

March 13th 1979

First open aortic valve repair

September 1979

The first operation performed by a local surgeon was an ASD repair in 1979, February 8thby Prof. P.A. Odhiambo.

Procedures have continued to grow and today the full spectrum of surgeries is offered.  In addition there has been a concurrent growth in the cardiology services and angioplasties and stenting is available.

Despite many challenges the units operational performance have continue to grow over the years and we have received many patents from the wider African diaspora.

HISTORY OF PERSONNEL DEVELOPMENT

In respect to the department of surgery of the University of Nairobi the thoracic and cardiovascular staff has grown progressively over the years.

  • Doctors (Cardiothoracic surgeons surgeons)

Prof Edward Knight was the first expatriate employed by the department for the cardiothoracic unit. Originally from Jamaica.

Prof. Fujita was part of the team at the official prelaunch of the open heart surgeries.  He was in the Department courtesy of JICA.

1976 – 1978:  Dr. Arthur Terence S. Paul from Colombo, Ceylon, now Sri Lanka was educated at Royal College, Colombo, Ceylon University College and Ceylon Medical College; served in World War II as a Captain in the Ceylon Medical Corps. 1941-1946; Fellow of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons of Edinburgh, England and Ireland, Hony Fellow of the College of Surgeons; Cardiothoracic Surgeon General Hospital Colombo 1950-75 and Kenyatta National Hospital Nairobi Kenya 1976-80; and Hunterian Professor at the Royal College of Surgeons England 1965.

(Capt ATS Paul and wife)

He regrettably passed away on April 28th 2008.  Apart from surgery he had interests in cricketer, painter, builder of model boats and planes. 

(J. McCoy)

Dr. James Arthur McCoy from Texas, USA also had a short stint in the departement (Click in name to readmore)

1979 - : Prof. Francis Omaswa though not a member of the department of surgery worked closly with the departement on the cardiothoracic programe.  Click on name for more details.

(Prof. Francis Omaswa)

January 1976 to date: Prof P.A. Odhiambo:  as lecturer in department of surgery and 76 to 78 outside UK and Canada.

Dr. J.C. Munene.  Staff member of the Kenyatta National hospital but works hand in hand with university staff on the cardiac programme.

Dr. Y.B. Sonigra.  Graduated from the Medical school University of Nairobi with both undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications.  Received cardiothoracic training in the United Kingdom.  Staff member of Kenyatta National hospital but works hand in hand with university staff on the cardiac programme.  Has since retired and stationed at teh Aga khan Hospital.

Prof. SWO Ogendo (UON). Graduated from the Medical school University of Nairobi with both undergraduate (1980) and postgraduate qualifications (1987).  Received cardiothoracic training in the United Kingdom under the Overseas Doctors Training Programme retuning to the department in 1997.

Dr. T Omulo (UON).  Graduated from the Medical school University of Nairobi with both undergraduate (1985) and postgraduate qualifications (1995).Date of Appointment 1/9/96.  Has undertaken various training programmes since.

Dr. M. Awori (UON).  Graduated from the Medical school University of Nairobi with both undergraduate (1995) and postgraduate qualifications (1995).  Fellowship Paediatric Cardiac Surgery (New Zealand) in 2013. 

Nikita Mehta (UON).  Graduated from the Medical school University of Nairobi.  Currently tutorial fellow in department.

Dr.FredrickMtema(UON).  Graduated from the Medical school University of Nairobi.  Currently tutorial fellow in department.

Hasmuk Kamdar.  Part time employee of the Kenyatta national Hospital and honorary lecturer department of surgery

Others surgeons on the KNH as well as outside the two institutions followed.

Dr. J. Kariuki a graduate of the University of Nairobi at undergraduate and postraduate levels.  Attained his cardiothoracic training in the United States and returned in 1984, joining Professor P. Odhiambo. Served as a staff memeber of the Kenyatta nationalHospital till resigned to go into private practice.

Prof. Barasa Kwa Otsyula a graduate of the University of Nairobi at undergraduate and postraduate levels.  Trained in cardiothoracic Surgery In Birmingham, UK.  returned ot Kenya in 1984

Dr. William Okumu.  Graduated from the Medical school University of Nairobi with both undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications. 

Dr. Ruturi.   Graduated from the Medical school University of Nairobi with both undergraduate  and postgraduate qualifications. 

Current cardiothoracic surgeon population stands at the hospital complex nine.

  • Doctors (General surgeons with interest in thoracic procedures)

Gerald E. Nevil born in 22nd December 1915, after his undergraduate training at Dublin University he completed postgraduate in a number of institutions as a senior house officer.  He came to Kenya in 1940 returning to London Guy’s for his FCS. 

He worked at the Native Civil Hospital, later renamed the King George VI Hospital, and subsequently the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi.

Dr. Nevil passed away in 23rd January 2003

  • Doctors (Anaesthetists)

Prof Emmanuel N. Ayim main percussionist at our first open heart surgery.  Headed the thematic unit of anaesthesia in the department of surgery for some time and currently on retired

Prof Z. Ngumi a former chair of teh department of surgery and current head of the newly formed departemnt of anaesthesia.

M. Caccii current staff memebr in the dpeartmetn of anaesthesia

  1. Perfusion staff

The first indigenous perfusionist was Mr. F.X. Makatia.  Trained in Japan as part of the reorganisation of the cardiac unit following the first operation.  this was under the auspicies of JIKA.

(Francis Makatia)

Mr. Makatia maintained the perfusion departmetn untill he was assited by Philip Ochieng.

P. Ochieng

(Philip Ochieng)

 

  • Nursing

During the early nineties a large number of nursing staff both from the intensive care and theatres were sent to Madras Medical Mission in India fro training.  This was organised through arrangements with Dr. K. Cherion

 

HISTORY OF CARDIOTHORACIC TRAINING

For many years the training of cardiothoracic surgery was limited to the undergraduate programme.  With the expansion of the department and diversification of the department it was decided to increase the training programmes offered in the department.  Consequently a number of speciality postgraduate programmes were commenced.  Amongst these was the Maser of Medicine in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery in January 2014.  The first two students were employed as as tutorial fellows in department of surgery and enrolled into the programme.

 

Department acknowledged the contribution of Professor Peter A. Odhiambo towards this article