Complex surgery for a tourist in Dubai, whose heart is right in the chest

The patient is with her husband at the time of her discharge from the hospital.

A hospital in Dubai received a Nigerian tourist, who suffers from a rare health condition that occurs in 0.01% of people, as it was found that her heart is on the right side, while the liver and gallbladder are located on the left side of the body.

The medical team at Medeor Hospital was able to save the patient from gallstones, with a complex process that required double and precise effort due to the different locations of the patient's internal organs.

Dr. Jaswant Ahuja, a radiologist at Medeor Hospital in Dubai, said that the 39-year-old tourist to Patience Okudwa has been suffering from persistent abdominal pain for many months, and she visited several hospitals in Nigeria, but the cause of the pain was not explained, so she decided to come to Dubai and receive treatment in the hospital.

He added: The patient underwent an ultrasound test and an MRI to confirm the presence of gallstones, but the radiologist was surprised, when the image revealed that the patient suffers from a rare congenital condition called (stem inversion or inverse viscera), where the heart is located on the right side of the gallbladder. The chest, while the liver and gallbladder are located on the left side of the abdomen.

He continued: This condition is very rare, it occurs in 0.01% of people, and people with this condition suffer from other abnormalities such as congenital heart disorders, lung problems, and chronic sinusitis.

He continued: Because the medical studies are designed to be applied to normal people, doctors have had to modify the approach to gallbladder surgery.

Dr. Arindam Ghosh, Consultant Gastrointestinal Surgeon and Head of the Department of Surgery at Medeor Hospital Dubai, said: “The medical team devised many techniques and procedures to perform the surgery, and the surgical staff used the left hand to perform the surgery, instead of the right hand, which is a challenging task.”

He added, "We performed the laparoscopic surgery through large holes, and all the instruments used in the surgery were placed on the opposite side, compared to normal surgery. I have had thousands of gallbladder surgeries in my long journey, but this is the first case I treat with a patient with this anatomy."

Ghosh continued: The surgery took two and a half hours, and was completely successful. The patient was discharged from the hospital after one day and fully recovered.

Emmanuel Okudwa, the patient’s husband, said: My wife previously underwent three caesarean sections in Nigeria, and I am in amazement because the doctors who dealt with her were unable to discover her rare physical condition, noting that doctors in Dubai advised permanently placing a badge on her hand that shows her physical condition to deal with her if she is exposed. For any health emergency.

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