The Fontan procedure is performed in children with a special type of congenital disorders that leaves them with a single functioning ventricle. There are two ventricles in the heart, one supplies blood to the lungs while the other pumps blood to the rest of the body parts.
Some children may be born with just one functional ventricle because of an absence of a heart valve or an abnormality in the ability of the ventricles to pump blood. As a result, a single ventricle has to work hard to supply blood to the lungs and the rest of the body at the same time. In such children, the Fontan procedure is performed.
The Fontan procedure is usually conducted when the child is between the age two and five. However, it can be conducted before two years of age. The Fontan procedure is contraindicated in children with high pulmonary vascular resistance. This is because as a part of this procedure, the blood must flow through the lungs without the pumping function of the heart. The Fontan procedure is also contraindicated in children with mitral insufficiency, left ventricular dysfunction, and pulmonary artery hypoplasia. The Fontan operation is also conducted in adults with this defect. The treatment is more complicated in such patients, as adults are more likely to develop Protein-Losing Enteropathy (PLE). It is a condition in which the protein is lost through the gut and it may lead to internal bleeding and fluid retention. But the complications resolve on its own when the surgery is performed. Such patients may sometimes even need a heart transplant.
The Fontan procedure is performed under the influence of general anesthesia. The patient is shifted to the surgical room an hour before the actual time of the surgery. General anesthesia is administered and once the patient is in deep sleep, a tube is inserted into the windpipe.
The body of the patient is connected to machines so that his or her vital parameters can be observed throughout the surgery and after that.The main purpose of the surgery is to optimize the Fontan circulation so that a single ventricle is able to effectively pump pure blood to the entire body and the impure blood to the lungs without any pumping mechanism. During the surgery, the surgeon opens the thoracic cavity by cutting through the sternum, which is a bone attached to the ribs. Doing so provides direct access to the heart.
Next, the surgeon uses either the extra-cardiac method or the lateral tunnel method to make the impure blood reach the lungs. The create a hole between the Fontan circuit and the right atrium to relieve the pressure. The hole, also known as “fenestration,” closes of its own later or can be closed off later with the help of cardiac catheterization.
The patient is transferred to the recovery room after the surgery and this is where all his or her vital signs are monitored for a couple of hours. Once the patient is stable, he or she is transferred to the cardiac ward.
The doctors may administer painkillers to control pain after the surgery. Expect the patient to be kept in the hospital for a few days. Additionally, eating and drinking are restricted for a few days after the surgery. Once the bowel movement resumes normally, the patient is given a light diet and fluids. This may take anywhere from two to three days. The medications and fluids are administered through an IV line until the patient starts taking normal diet. The dressing is changed every day during the hospital stay. A majority of patients are able to return to their normal routine within the first three months of the surgery. They are advised to increase their activities gradually and not to exert themselves too much.
Fontan Procedure cost in South Africa varies from one hospital to the other. The cost quoted by some of the best hospitals for Fontan Procedure in South Africa generally covers the pre-surgery investigations of the patient. Typically, the package cost of Fontan Procedure in South Africa includes the expenses related to the surgeon's fee, anesthesia, hospital, meals, nursing and ICU stay. Extended hospital stay, complications after the surgery or new diagnosis may affect the overall cost of Fontan Procedure in South Africa.
After Fontan Procedure in South Africa, the patient is supposed to stay in guest house for another 30 days. This duration of stay is recommended to complete all the necessary follow-ups and control tests to ensure that the surgery was successful.
Apart from the Fontan Procedure cost, the patient may have to pay for additional daily expenses such as for guest house after discharge and meals. The per day cost in this case may start from USD 50 per person.
Some of the best cities in South Africa which offer Fontan Procedure are:
The patient is supposed to stay at the hospital for about 7 days after Fontan Procedure for monitoring and care. The doctors team review the patient's recovery during this time with the help of blood tests and imaging scans. Once they feel that everything is on track, the patient is discharged.
The average rating for Fontan Procedure hospitals in South Africa is 2.9. This rating is calculated on the basis of different parameters such as attitude of the nurses, cleanliness, quality of food and the pricing policy.
There are more than 3 hospitals that offer Fontan Procedure in South Africa. These clinics have propoer infrastructure as well as offer good quality of services when it comes to Fontan Procedure Also, these hospitals follow the necessary guidelines as required by the medical associations for the treatment of Fontan Procedure patients.
Some of the world-class multispecialty hospitals in South Africa are:
The performance of these hospitals have been evaluated on the below parameters:
The government of South Africa has strict healthcare regulations in place which all hospitals need to follow to ensure quality treatment. Supported by state-of-art infrastructure, advanced medical equipment, and highly qualified doctors, the hospitals offer various facilities to improve the patient experience.
The hospitals in South Africa receive accreditation from Joint Commission International (JCI) and Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa (COHSASA). To ensure that integrated and coordinated care is provided, COHSASA develops as well as measures standards in all areas and departments of a healthcare facility. The SafeCare program introduced by JCI, COHSASA, and SafeCare Foundation aims at using internationally recognized standards to provide health care delivery. Clinics and Hospitals that comply with standards are initially given two-year accreditations and this period is extended if they are consistent in providing quality care.
One of the leading medical tourism destinations, South Africa offers affordable healthcare and has superior infrastructure. Some other factors which contribute to the growth of medical tourism in South Africa are use of cutting-edge technology, new facilities provided by hospitals, doctors trained overseas, and a large number of accredited hospitals. South Africa’s recent advancement in stem cell therapy has made it one of the most preferred countries for seeking advanced medical treatment. The patient-centric hospitals in South Africa help you with all kinds of organization and administrative tasks and provide a world-class patient experience through all-inclusive care and assistance on a 24/7 basis.
The highly skilled and well-qualified doctors in South Africa ensure world-class treatment through their deep expertise and subject knowledge. Having trained in foreign countries like Australia and Cuba, doctors in South Africa use their global exposure in developing deep expertise in various procedures. Doctors in South Africa are known for their deep expertise in dental procedures and fertility treatments. There are several reasons why South Africa has a large pool of quality doctors, such as education at reputed colleges, compliance with global standards, using human touch in treatment, and adopting a patient-centric approach.
A person can apply for a medical visa to South Africa for a period of 90 days. The High Commission helps one decide for how long a visa can be extended. People must apply for a temporary residency permit if they require medical treatment for longer than three months. The validity of a visa starts the day it is granted by the High Commission and not on the date of departure. Also, visa applications will not be accepted more than 30 days prior to departure. You need to produce the below documents to apply for a medical visa:
A large number of people visit South Africa to avail procedures like anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction, total knee replacement, meniscus repairs, and hip replacement. Cosmetic surgery and infertility treatment are some of the other popular procedures in South Africa which have a high success rate. Fertility treatment through egg donation has seen a high success rate in South Africa wherein a person can opt for a surgical or non-surgical procedure, with quite low waiting times. The reasons for the popularity of these procedures are affordable treatment cost, speedy recovery, use of advanced technology, and highly trained doctors.
The top-ranked cities that are most preferred by medical tourists in South Africa are Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Durban. Cape Town, which attracts a wide variety of people from different ethnicity and cultures, has world-class doctors and state-of-the-art medical facilities. The reasons for the popularity of these cities are multiple food options, connectivity through airlines, and cheap accommodation. Healthcare in Johannesburg is similar to Great Britain’s health care, and the city’s public and private healthcare sectors work hand in hand with South Africa's medical schools to create internationally recognized medical specialists.
Yes, vaccination is compulsory before visiting South Africa. The vaccines recommended by WHO and the National Travel Health Network and Centre are Rabies and tetanus, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, Yellow fever, hepatitis A. Make sure that infants of age 6 to 11 months get measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine before they travel to South Africa. People staying with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities or rural areas should get typhoid vaccine. You can connect with your doctor or the hospital in South Africa for the required vaccines. Also, refer to the travel advisory issued by the government.
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