Passing on the torch: Magdi Yacoub foundation pioneers treatment of heart disease in Egypt

Ingy Deif , Sunday 7 Aug 2022

The Magdi Yacoub Heart Foundation is holding workshops for doctors across Egypt on the latest techniques in the diagnosis and treatment of congenital heart defects in children.

courtesy of MYF


With an indisputable place in the hearts of his countrymen, acclaimed Egyptian heart surgeon Dr. Magdi Yacoub has been understandably dubbed “king of hearts.”

After years of unceasing volunteer across an outstanding career, he saw the need for an organised entity.

In 1995, Yacoub created the Chain of Hope charity, which treats children with life-threatening heart conditions in developing countries.

After 11 years of treating Egyptian children through Abul-Riche Children’s hospital in Cairo, he established the Magdi Yacoub Heart Foundation (MYF)  in 2008.

In 2009, the foundation established the Aswan Heart Centre, a non-profit NGO that provides free world-class medical services to the less privileged in Egypt and throughout the region suffering from cardiovascular disease, in addition to conducting various training and research programs.

One of the major activities of the centre is to hold workshops periodically to increase the experience and training of cardiologists in Egypt, which will benefit patients and the healthcare system as a whole.

At the end of July, the foundation announced organising workshops for cardiologists from different governorates in Egypt, on the latest methods for treating congenital heart defects in children through catheterisation.

In a statement issued by the foundation, it explained that this technology makes use of advanced medicine to change a pulmonary valve through a catheter instead of open-heart surgery, making recovery smoother and producing better patient outcomes.

“Most cases... of congenital heart defects need open-heart operations to change the pulmonary valve, but repeated procedures may pose a great risk to patients, and here is where the foundation steps in.”

“We are able to replace the damaged pulmonary valve by implanting a new valve through the catheter, to become the first and only centre in Egypt that implements this new medical treatment method and without the use of any foreign experts and with a 100 percent Egyptian team,” Abdul Rahman Al-Afifi, head of the Department of Pediatric Cardiology at the MYF, told Ahram Online.

Al-Afifi added that most of the patients undergoing treatment were able to leave the hospital two days after the new pulmonary was implanted without repeated blood transfusions.

Over the past two years, operations have been performed for 19 patients, all of whom have recovered.

Dr. Mahmoud Shihata, pediatric cardiologist at MYF, said that the foundation is always keen to transfer its practical experiences in providing the latest surgeries to Egyptian doctors from different governorates

Shihata added that the aim of the workshop is to teach accurate diagnosis of congenital heart defects to improve the results of interventional treatment, surgical treatment or medical follow-up for children.

He concluded by saying that the workshops cover the whole spectrum of cardiology in Egypt, sharing and exchanging experiences with specialists, consultants and professors from different Egyptian universities and health authorities, including comprehensive health insurance, and the educational hospital system of the Ministry of Health.

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