Feature

Fijian Doctors To Perform Stent Procedures For The First-Time Without Assistance

Dr Shahin Nusair and Dr Bharatvansh Bali will start the stent procedure next month at Suva’s Colonial War Memorial (CWM) Hospital’s dedicated Cardiac Catheterisation or Cath Lab.
17 Aug 2020 09:30
Fijian Doctors To Perform Stent Procedures For The First-Time Without Assistance
Second from left: Dr Shahin Nusair and Dr Bharatvansh Bali with CWM Hospital Catheterisation Lab team.

Two Fijian cardiologists will perform stent procedures for the first-time without the assistance of overseas doctors.

A stent is a tiny tube that a doctor can insert into a blocked passageway to keep it open.

Dr Shahin Nusair and Dr Bharatvansh Bali will start the stent procedure next month at Suva’s Colonial War Memorial (CWM) Hospital’s dedicated Cardiac Catheterisation or Cath Lab.

A stent procedure is when a stent is inserted into the clogged artery with a balloon catheter. The balloon is inflated and the stent expands and locks in place. This holds the artery open and allows blood to flow more freely.

Minister for Heath Ifereimi Waqainabete said the two Fijian cardiologists had been performing the stent procedure with visiting doctors the past 10 years and have been trained locally and overseas.

“Now they can do stenting procedures every day and that is the intention,” Dr Waqainabete said.

“We now have the capacity to do the procedure five days in a week. I trust their ability to perform this task because they have already been carrying out such procedures for numerous years; they have the capacity to do so.

“They have the expertise and Government has invested in the equipment they need for the procedure.”

Dr Nusair said among heart diseases, heart attack was the common cause of death.

“In addition to all the non-intervention and measures there are two ways that you need to open up or bypass the blockage artery. Number one is when a stent is inserted into the clogged artery with a balloon catheter,” Dr Nusair said.

“The balloon is inflated and the stent expands and locks in place. And the other option is to bypass the blockage by a surgical operation called bypass surgery.

“Unfortunately, bypass surgery is not offered locally and most of our patients are identified after the angiogram that they require bypass surgery.

An angiogram is a diagnostic test that uses x-rays to take pictures of, your blood vessels.

Most heart patients travel overseas for the expensive bypass operation.

“We used to identify local patients who need the procedure following the angiogram,” Dr Nusair said.

“The patient is then prepared for medical teams from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United States or one of the developed countries; we are also part of the team.

“Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 pandemic no more visiting medical teams are coming to Fiji.

“Before, most of the procedures were done by the visiting team, but throughout the years we have gained experience and knowledge.

“Even with the visiting medical teams around Bharat and I would be doing most of the work.

“Some visiting teams have acknowledged that we can do the stenting procedure on our own.”

Dr Nusair said he was looking forward to the stent procedure next month.

“It is amazing, and honestly it is long overdue in a way, because we are capable of performing a stenting procedure.

“We had to have special attachment abroad, which was a condition, but that is not going to happen anytime soon with this global pandemic,” he said.

“At the moment I don’t have the exact number, but we have more than 50 or 60 patients who are waiting to have the stenting procedure done on them.

“For this procedure I usually have one x-ray technician and a team of three or four nurses. This will only be done at the CWM Hospital.”

Dr Bharatvansh Bali and Dr Shahin Nusair.

Dr Bharatvansh Bali and Dr Shahin Nusair.

Dr Bali said the stent procedure requires long and dedicated training.

The long term goal is training more cardiologists to step up and do the procedure.

“This is a very important new service, which we are commencing in Fiji. It is not the first time for us to do the stenting procedure as we have been carrying them out since 2009,” Dr Bali said.

“But this would be the first time without the support of any overseas team.

“We have to step up and start providing this service to the heart patients in Fiji and it is quite an important step.

“We went to Auckland for training and our training team continued with the overseas teams that came to Fiji. It took us three to four years to be confident with the procedure.”

Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola

Feedback: wati.talebula@fijisun.com.fj



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