Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 30th 2015 Contents A28
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, December 30, 2015
CONTINUES FROM PAGE A27
A Metronics team visited the
Southern Medical Centre to overlook
the case and determine whether
everything was done to the highest
standard. If there are shortcomings
and the procedure fails, Metronics
will not allow the institution to con-
For Gieowarsingh, the success of
the procedure was more than a per-
sonal victory. "This is a landmark
time in the medical history of T&T---
that with this high technology we
have successfully performed a case.
The patient is doing very well. We
succeeded," he said.
He explained that long before he
and his team finished the procedure,
Metronics was being kept in the loop
and a message was sent out to say it
was successful. "The congratulations
poured in," he said.
Now that it has been proven that
we can do the surgery in T&T, Gie-
owarsingh said, "It s going to be an
option for patients who are high risk
for surgery, who are inoperable. They
can now have this treatment and we
have full support from Metronic."
The procedure is not limited to
Southern Medical Centre. Dr Gie-
owarsingh is excited about the poten-
tial for all cardiac centres to do the
"All medical facilities have the abil-
ity to approach Metronics and aim to
achieve that, but what is required is
a high level of expertise, it requires
a lot of discipline, not only during
the procedure but in the preparation
of the patient to ensure the conditions
are optimal for the patient to undergo
the procedure," he said.
Cost can prevent access
Before Gieowarsingh and his team s
success, the procedure was done at
a facility in north Trinidad, but unfor-
tunately, it was unsuccessful and the
The cardiologist believes the success
of this second procedure has opened
new doors for this country and
patients who suffer with severe aortic
stenosis. "It has the potential to help
a lot of people if they can afford it
and qualify for it," he said.
However, the major drawback for
many patients is the cost. Gieowars-
"It is a phenomenal cost. Just the
device itself is almost $200,000. And
then you add the additional cost relat-
ed to doing the procedure. It is quite
a lot. It is above the average cost of
a standard open heart surgery."
Now that it is clear that the surgery
can be successful, how can it be made
available to more people?
Gieowarsingh believes that despite
the cost, it is fundamental that all
stakeholders---including the public
health care fraternity---need to know
how to access the therapy and col-
laborate to provide the therapy to
those who need it.
"There are treatments such as
oncology, cancer treatment that are
rather expensive. For conditions like
cancer, there is a recurrent expendi-
ture, whereas this procedure is a one-
off treatment. There is no ongoing
cost---understanding from that aspect
of health economics is important."
Dr Gieowarsingh said it makes eco-
nomic sense to make the procedure
available because it makes sense to
treat patients for a condition that can
lead to "repeat hospitalisation, where
patients collapse, black-out and devel-
op fluid in their lungs"
He also said many of these people
require supervision from carers "who
invariably are family members who
need to take productive time off from
work to take care of them at home."
Jasmine Persad, who underwent
the procedure, told the GML
Enterprise team that even though
the procedure was new in this
country and had failed once before,
she was not afraid. "I never thought
for a moment it would not work. My
doctor is very good. When he is
there, he gives me hope," the 78-
Persad said she had the option to
do the surgery in London, but was
adamant she wanted to do it locally.
"All my children are here, they are
very supportive and I know they
would want to be with me when I
did it," she said.
This is not Persad's first procedure.
She previously had a stent installed
and has also done triple bypass
surgery. She said she built a
relationship with the cardiologist and
has grown to admire him and his
lot of talks and he is always smiling,"
Persad said she would recommend
the surgery to anyone her age who
qualified. She said there was little
pain, and whatever there was, left
"You awake shortly after the
procedure and the biggest plus is
how quickly you are able to move
around," she said.
"I leave everything in God's hands,"
she said, as she looked forward to a
long life with her family.
...Above the average cost
A diagram showing the valve being
replaced during a Tavi procedure.
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