Saturday, July 4

Kolkata doctors save Bhutan teen with rare heart disease caused by animal-transmitted parasite

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At a time, when the entire world had just started getting worried about how to tackle the novel coronavirus, an 18-year-old girl from Bhutan quietly won a battle against another lethal parasite, reportedly transmitted from sheep and dogs, in a Kolkata hospital. There have been only 10 known cases as hers across the globe. Luckily, she was cured and could fly back to her country just before international flights were stopped before lockdown.

Ugyen Tshomo was suffering from a condition called hydatid disease of the heart, a parasitic infection. The parasite mainly affects lungs and liver. In her case, it had affected the heart, making it a rare case.

“What makes this case extremely rare is the fact that it affected the heart of the patient. There has been only about 10 such cases reported in the world till date, in which the parasitic cystic disease affected the heart chamber,” said cardiothoracic surgeon K M Mandana, who conducted a cardiopulmonary bypass surgery to remove all the cysts, at Fortis Hospital Anandapur.

Hydatid disease is considered endemic in livestock-rearing countries, like Turkey. But in those nations, the parasite mostly affects the liver and lungs. Of the 10 reported cases of cardiac hydatid cysts, a few have been from Turkey.

The teenager from Bhutan had been suffering from chest pain and palpitations for about three years. She had cleared her Class-XII tests in 2019. But as her symptoms grew more aggressive, she had to discontinue her studies.

“Her condition became so fragile that we had to admit her to Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Referral Hospital, Paro, in December last year,” said Tshomo’s elder sister Tshering Zangmo.

The Paro hospital that has a tie-up with Fortis, referred the girl to the Kolkata facility. An echo and later a CT scan revealed a large cyst with multiple daughter cysts inside Tshomo’s left ventricle.

The cyst got formed on the inter-ventricular septum, the wall separating the ventricles, doctors said. The cyst had not only grown in size but also produced numerous smaller cysts. It had become like a balloon, which increased in size over time and was filled with fluid and daughter cysts. The cyst had filled 70% of the left ventricle. Doctors estimate that the parasite has been there for a few years.

“The cyst had obstructed the flow of blood because of which she become unconscious a couple of times,” said Mandana.

Doctors said that the cysts could have ruptured and caused anaphylactic shock, leading to death. But timely intervention by them saved Tshomo.

“Now, I am looking forward to continue with my studies,” said the 18-year-old. Back in Bhutan, the girl is doing well. “We recently had a chat on skpye and we are happy that she is doing absolutely fine,” said Mandana.

Source:Times of India

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