Acibadem Sistina Hospital performs cardiac surgery in COVID patients as well


Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Acibadem Sistina Hospital performs urgent surgeries in Covid-patients by a specially adapted procedure. Although the common practice so far has been not to intervene in patients tested positive and they have been waited to recover from the virus despite the urgency of the intervention, it is not the case now. This new practice demonstrates the hospital’s exceptional care for all citizens regardless the specificity of Covid-19 for the health of the patients and the medical team. Prof. Dr. Aleksandar Nikolikj, a cardiac surgeon at “Acibadem Sistina”, says that heart surgeries found to be urgent are performed in conditions that do not put the patient and the entire medical team in additional danger. Precisely, the surgeries are performed in special intensive care units insulated by double doors and negative pressure. The intervention is performed by a special protocol, using equipment that is carried for the very surgery. Dr. Nikolikj, a proven specialist in cardiac surgery in the region, says that this practice singles out the hospital in the way of accessing and treating Covid-patients.

“We operate on patients who need urgent bypass surgery. The difference in these cases is that the entire staff who come into contact with the patient have to be careful and completely protected. It is not simple since you have to organize a special protocol, specific conditions. The surgery room have to be adapted, the way of dressing is special and all protection measures have to be observed. It is necessary to have staff that knows the measures well in order to implement them. So far we have not faced such a pandemic, such a virus. It lasts almost a year, but we certainly have to learn how to function in such conditions”, adds Prof. Dr. Nikolikj.

He explains that in cardiac surgery the lungs have to be scanned first and if the virus has not caused any problems the intervention is performed, despite the fact that it is a Covid-patient. The experience so far is positive, all cases have a good outcome, i.e. without any complications. Dr. Nikolikj says that recovery is individual for each patient, but during the first seven days the patient remains in hospital due to weak immunity.

Several interventions were performed, including a surgery on a young male whose aorta ruptured. Prior to surgery, which was urgent in such a case, the patient was tested positive for the coronavirus. However, it was performed.

“We mobilized immediately, protected ourselves fully and performed the surgery. The symptoms must not be ignored, that is if we waited and did not react promptly we could lose the patient. Covid-19 causes panic in the world, but we must not forget that other diseases are still active. It should not be forgotten that 51% of people die from cardiovascular problems”, says Dr. Nikolikj.

Although such interventions are in small number, they are providing chance for those who have not had the opportunity to be treated in time just because of the positive tests for the virus.