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Report: Ghana Mission Successful

/, News, Past Missions/Report: Ghana Mission Successful
Adwoa with son

Dad will live to enjoy son, held by Ghana nurse

On April 14th 2013, an all-volunteer team of CardioStart International embarked on its third cardiac surgery mission to the continent of Africa.  The Republic of Ghana is in West Africa. Kumasi lays West of Accra, the capital, and this second major historic city was once the capital of the Ashanti Empire. It continues to serve as the cultural centre of the Ashanti people.

There is a single cardiothoracic centre in Accra. The National Cardiothoracic Centre is performing a small number of cases each year (approximately, 100, mostly valves).  Accra cannot do more than a small volume of cases due to varying types of restrictions and some of their cases are fee-paying and privately arranged.

The Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi has already received assistance from teams, which have included Dr. Philip Wendschuh, a cardiologist volunteer member of CardioStart, and the Boston Children’s Hospital under the direction of Dr. Fynn-Thompson.

patient pacemaker

All smiles from a patient who received a pacemaker in Ghana

A CardioStart team of healthcare professionals performed the first cardiac surgeries in the new Trauma and ER facility at KATH in Kumasi, in February 2009. A total of 8 procedures were performed with no fatalities, and the new facilities were tested to confirm it was fit for this purpose. During its second visit in 2010 Cardiostart performed a total of 11 procedures.

The objectives of the current mission in April 2013 were to provide:

1. Cardiology Service  and Cardiac Surgery for Impoverished Adults in the Region

2. Teaching and Direct One-on-One Training


The principal objective in introducing complex heart surgery is for the local team to progressively take over their own program; each mission has been designed to permit the local team to be a central part of the management of increasingly complex presentations. As the days passed, this routine became more established.  The local team was cohesive and much better prepared on this, our third visit.

Uday and patient pre-op

Dr. Danaker and Kristie Stiles with patient during Pre-Op

Working in close collaboration with the KATH surgeons, physicians, nurses, laboratory and perfusion staff, the CardioStart International team prepared the surgery suite and intensive care unit for its first patients.  The first 2 days of the mission on reaching Kumasi were devoted to setting up the facility to accommodate cardiac surgery patients; an immediate challenge was to convert an empty operating theatre and ICU to a functional cardiac facility. Pacemaker insertion began on Tuesday the 16th April. Cardiac surgical operations began without incident, on the third day, Wednesday, 17th April 2013.

Twenty two cardiac procedures were performed including adult heart valve repair/ replacements and permanent pacemaker insertions.  

Operative activities ceased on Wednesday the 24th April 2013 to ensure satisfactory recovery of all patients and facilitate general tidying of the ICU.

CardioStart’s container of needed medical supplies sent to Ghana arrived just before the mission. Valuable donated soft disposables and equipment were checked, sorted, and labeled for storage in the Cardiostart storage rooms. Some items e.g. unused prosthetic valves have been stored in the Boston storage room. Items not required for the programme have been distributed for general hospital use. An improved inventory and labeling was achieved to assist setting up during future mission activity.


Education was strongly emphasized in all areas of program during this mission. Because of the local doctor’s strike no formal teaching took place. However each volunteer led informal teaching during the course of the mission.

Cardiostart’s international database was fully implemented during this mission. This will provide useful information both for KATH and Cardiostart for its future missions.


CardioStart gratefully acknowledges the wonderful support from the following individuals and organizations:

1. Abbott Laboratories-ISTAT cartridges

2. Children’s Lifeline International

3. DELTA airlines- suitcase carriage allowance

4. Project S.A.V.E. container contents

5. Sorin-perfusion packs and tubing

6. Medtronic Pacemakers and accessories

7. University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire, UK for providing heart valves.


Professor Uday Dandekar MS, M.Ch, FRCS (Edin&Glas), FRCSEd (CTh), CardioStart Mission Director for Ghana

Clement Akomea-Agyin – United Kingdom

Christina Chin – United States

Faye Creechan – United Kingdom

Alison Freeberg – United States

Caroline Ghosh – United Kingdom

Kyler Hunter – United States

Linda Lundeen – United States

Phomola Machika – South Africa

Tania Manso – Portugal

Giampalol Martinelli – United Kingdom

Caitlin Mell – United States

Andrea Myers-Koepping – United States

Edward Newton – United States

Kristie Stiles – United States

Sher Stiles – United States

Veero Subramaniam – United States

Jennifer Timberlake – United States

Phil Wendschuh – United States

Chassie Wiersma – United States


By | 2017-02-01T22:14:56+00:00 June 12th, 2013|Homepage Featured, News, Past Missions|0 Comments

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