Fontan Procedure in Thailand

Fontan procedure is a surgery performed in children who are born with a congenital abnormality that leaves them with only one functioning ventricle. This could be due to the absence of a heart valve or an abnormality in the ability of the ventricles to pump blood. As a result, only a single ventricle has to do simultaneous work of supplying the blood to the lungs as well as the rest of the body. The main aim of Fontan procedure is to improve the Fontan circulation so that the single ventricle is able to pump the blood effectively to the entire body and the impure blood to the lungs without any pumping mechanism in place. Fontan procedure is the third stage of repair after two other operations and is carried out when a child is between 18 months and 2 years of age. The aim of this procedure is to separate the red blood (oxygen filled) from the blue blood (oxygen-empty). This is a surgery done to decompensate the pressure in the ventricle.

Fontan procedure in Thailand

Thailand has some of the leading internationally recognized hospitals which are serving both native and foreign patients with great care. With highly advanced apparatus and technology, along with certified specialists, Thailand has emerged as one of the top destinations for Fontan surgery. Low cost of Fontan procedure, availability of diagnostic and therapeutic facilities, well connected international flights are some other factors that list Thailand hospitals among the best hospitals for undergoing the Fanton procedure.

Fontan Procedure Cost in Thailand

Fontan procedure in Thailand is quite affordable as compared to other countries of the world. The overall cost of the Fontan procedure is 60& to 70% lesser than some other developed countries. The average cost of this surgery remains low despite the additional costs such as boarding, hotel expenses, food, investigation costs and duration of stay in the hospital. The cost of this procedure is determined by the type of hospital, choice of city, accommodation, and traveling.

Treatment and Cost

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About the Fontan Procedure

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.

How is Fontan Procedure performed?

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.

Recovery from Fontan Procedure

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.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the health care infrastructure of Thailand / Why should opt for Thailand as a destination for your medical treatment
Hospitals in Thailand have seen an increase in number in the past few years. One of the many reasons for such surprise growth in the healthcare division can be the development of the public health sector which comprises 9,765 health locations along with 1,002 hospitals. As the Public Hospitals in Thailand are operated by the MOPH (Ministry of Public Health), the Private Hospitals in Thailand are regulated under the Medical Registration Division. The treatments in Thailand are also keeping up with that of other major countries all across the globe. As of 2002, the Thai Government has provided a countrywide general healthcare system that covers 99.5% of the Thai population and ensures high-quality treatments in Thailand and affordable primary medical amenities to each and every citizen of Thailand. In the year 2009, the total national expenditure on healthcare was 4.3% of the GDP of Thailand. Due to such medical advancements in Thailand, the country has become the most preferred medical destination in the world providing wide-ranging medical treatments at highly-reasonable rates at good hospitals in Thailand.
What are the conditions of the hospitals in Thailand? Are they JCI certified? What is the quality of the support staff in the hospitals?
The Joint Commission International (JCI) is a global leader in health care accreditation. JCI accreditation is considered a gold standard in worldwide health care. It provides the most skilled and experienced healthcare professionals in the medical industry, as evaluators of the rigorous international standards in healthcare quality and patient safety. Here are a few JCI certified hospitals in Thailand :
  • Yanhee Hospital
  • Bumrungrad Hospital
  • Bangkok Hospital
  • Chaophya Hospital
  • BNH Hospital
  • Ramkhamhaeng Hospital
  • Vejthani Hospital
  • Bangkok Hospital Phuket
  • Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital
  • Praram 9 Hospital
  • Chiangmai Ram Hospital
  • Sikarin Hospital
  • Synphaet Hospital
  • Bangkok Hospital Samui
  • Nonthavej Hospital
  • Bangkok Hospital Pattaya
  • Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital
  • Samitivej Sriracha Hospital
Are the doctors/surgeons in Thailand of the best quality?
Thailand is gaining recognition for the quality of its healthcare services after the US magazine CEOWORLD placed Thailand 6th in its 2019 list of countries with the best healthcare systems. Thai doctors gain a lot of skills during their course and this helps them practice effectively. Many doctors and surgeons also visit other countries for training and certification courses to enhance their skills and knowledge. Most doctors are exposed to a public and private healthcare system in order to be able to work in any condition. It is a collective effort from all the professionals to maintain the standard of health and Thailand is doing just that.
What is the process for obtaining a medical visa in Thailand?
Currently, medical tourists To Thailand are allowed in from 34 countries. All visitors must have proof of travel health insurance that covers a minimum of US$100,000 of medical costs incurred in Thailand, including medical costs in the event that they contract COVID-19. Under the CCSA regulations, medical tourists have to arrive by air to ensure effective disease control, not via land border checkpoints. All must have an appointment letter from a doctor in Thailand and entry certificates issued by Thai embassies across the globe. People wanting to visit Thailand for medical procedures need to contact the Thai Embassy in their country to organize the visa and paperwork. Thailand’s major hospitals will provide potential candidates with an appointment letter. Permission for medical tourists to be accompanied by up to three attending persons is intended to allow such patients to have spouses, parents, or assistants in attendance during their treatment in Thailand. However, such persons will have to conform to all the same entry requirements as the medical tourists themselves, including visas and health status.
What support services does MediGence provide in Thailand?
MediGence enables you to plan and manage your medical decisions better. These are some of our services offered:
  • Expert Opinion
    We help you seek an Expert Opinion on your diagnosis and treatment from an experienced team of doctors at MediGence and specialists from a reputable hospital.
  • Hospital Recommendation
    We recommend a hospital or a healthcare institution that is best suited for you, based on your ailment and its criticality.
  • 360-degree Hospital Review
    We give you a transparent and holistic view of the hospital and its infrastructure, accreditation, facilities, and expertise to give you confidence.
  • Doctor Validation and Communication
    We share a comprehensive profile of the treating doctor and also arrange a call to clear queries regarding treatment if needed.
  • Options to Choose From
    Based on your choice of destination and other preferences, we provide you multiple options with respect to hospitals and doctors to choose from.
  • 24X7 Patient Care Support
    A dedicated patient case manager stays in constant touch with you to help you at every step of the decision-making process and resolve queries that you may have.
  • Transparent Treatment Cost and Other Expenses
    We give a clear and accurate indication of the total cost of treatment including treatment, stay, meals, and other expenses.
  • Visa Assistance
    We provide and help prepare documentation for visa approval and coordinate with the embassy to expedite the visa process.
  • Accommodation Arrangements
    We propose to you a choice of accommodation based on your preference such as long stay, short stay, or luxury properties.
Which are the best cities in Thailand for medical treatment?
Bangkok is the capital of Thailand and the most sought - after destination for healthcare. It has more than 10 of the major hospitals in Thailand. The cost of treatment in Thailand is reasonable here. People tend to spend their recovery time in Bangkok as well as it is a beautiful city to visit as a tourist.

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