24-year-old Geoffrey underwent open-heart surgery lasting 5 hours.

On the morning of Wednesday October 22nd 2008, 24-year-old Geoffrey underwent open-heart surgery lasting 5 hours.

During this operation his mitral valve, a structure that separates the two left sided chambers of the heart, was replaced with a mechanical valve

While the blood from his heart was diverted to a heart-lung machine, the PANAHF team from UK led by Mr Raj Jutley opened the heart and replaced the damaged valve with a carbon one. Prior to his surgery Geoffrey could only walk 100 yards before stopping with shortness of breath. Now after the operation he has restored not only his exercise tolerance but also a normal healthy life.

Geoffrey’s mitral valve was damaged due to a simple bacterial sore throat infection he sustained as a child. With no access to health care in his village the infection went untreated. It also started an immune reaction with his body mounting an attack on systems including his mitral valve. Over several years and slowly the valve started to leak causing high pressure within his lungs, suffocating him slowly. Geoffrey’s condition came to light when he had a stroke affecting his left side leaving him unable to use his arm. As an orphan, Geoffrey is being cared for by his uncle, a small subsistence farmer upcountry. Raising enough money for the surgery was near impossible but without surgery his life expectancy would not be another 5-10 years. But thanks to your generosity the money required for the operation and post-operative care was raised and a life saved.

Geoffrey’s case is not unusual. Everyday in sub-Saharan Africa thousands of young adults suffer from rheumatic heart valve disease. The disease stems from a simple sore throat infection that goes largely undiagnosed and untreated. Many years later the valve is destroyed and the heart slowly weakens under the added strain. From diagnosing the problem the survival rate at 10 years is 0%. All patients will die if they do not get an operation to replace the valve. You can make a difference by raising funds towards an operation. PANAHF can undertake the surgery for as little as US$ 7500 for the full package including the mechanical heart valve and disposables required running the heart lung machine. The operation can restore normal life expectancy in these young adults and return them back to the community to work and support their families in turn.