Posted on 14 May, 2013

This post is by Fiona Hyde, Project Coordinator – Pyin Oo Lwin, Myanmar.

Hi from the team at Pyin Oo Lwin.

Pyin Oo Lwin is a beautiful township about 2 hours north of Mandalay and we are a small team within Open Heart International that travel here to work in their cardiac catheter lab doing angiograms and stents. We arrived on Monday to be confronted with a 9yo boy with a blood pressure of 230/130. Not only is the blood pressure exceptionally high but also incredibly rare in a child. He had presented after suffering severe headaches for 4 years and was diagnosed with renal artery disease. We had never seen a case like this and find it difficult to suggest a cause for such an unfortunate condition. We opened up his renal artery in much the same fashion as we would an artery in his heart. Post-operatively his blood pressure was completely normal and he was all smiles. Unfortunately we dont believe this will be the end of his troubles but only time will tell.

There is always patients here that will surprise us. These trips bring us to different cultures with differing socio-economic conditions and restrictive access to healthcare. So we come to educate the Myanmese but in the process we see and learn just as much!

Left: All smiles after the renal artery is opened and his headache relieved.

Right: Australian’s Jennie Gordon, Greg Bellamy and Nick Collins with the Myanmese medical team

Medical Companies Save the Day

Just consider this: you work as a farmer in Myanmar and your average salary is $20 – $24/week. From this you must provide food and shelter for yourself and your family. And then you are diagnosed with a heart condition that requires a pacemaker which costs between $2,000-$3,000. Without it you can not work and your family will have no money. With it, life will return to normal. What can you do?

Unfortunately this story is a daily event in Myanmar. Poverty is overwhelming. A lot of people dont make it to hospital and the help they require. But when they do the Australian medical companies are there to assist. Each year they give the much needed pacemakers and stents to support the most needy. The people of Myanmar say thank you – the patients, the doctors, the nurses. And we couldnt do the life-saving work we do without you. Abbott, Biotronic, Imaxeon, Johnson and Johnson, Boston Scientific, St Jude – you really save somebodies day – every day!

The Myanmese cath lab nurse they affectionately call “Mummy” stands next to diagnostic catheters donated by JnJ. The catheters are designed to be long enough to reach the heart from your leg – however in Myanmar they are nearly as tall as the people!

Right: The Myanmar team are thumbs up and say thank you!

Tags:  Myanmar,