Born in 2004, Tess Katungi was diagnosed with tetralogy of fallot at 17 months. Therefore, she underwent an open heart surgery where a homograft RV-PA conduit and bilateral PA plasties were put in her heart.
According to cincinnatichildrens.org, an online portal, tetralogy of fallot is a cardiac anomaly that refers to a combination of four related heart defects that commonly occur together.
Ventricular septal defect (VSD), overriding aorta where the aortic valve is enlarged and appears to arise from both the left and right ventricles instead of the left ventricle as in normal hearts; pulmonary stenosis where narrowing of the pulmonary valve and outflow tract or area below the valve that creates an obstruction (blockage) of blood flow from the right ventricle to the pulmonary artery, and right ventricular hypertrophy where thickening of the muscular walls of the right ventricle, which occurs because the right ventricle is pumping at high pressure. The pulmonary stenosis and right ventricular outflow tract obstruction seen with tetralogy of fallot usually limits blood flow to the lungs.
She was also admitted to Mulago Heart Institute for a month where she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. Thankfully, it has been managed. However, during one of the routine checks on December 24, 2018, it was discovered that her right ventricular to pulmonary valve (RV to PV) conduit had developed severe stenosis. That was a major and life threatening finding which was unfortunately not present during the check-up that had been done in November.
“While we had hoped that the conduit would help her until she reached 18 years, she seems to have outgrown it hence the need for one fit for her age. At the moment, Katungu has difficulty in breathing and cannot run, climb stairs or do any strenuous activities,” her father, Kenneth Katungi shares. The findings were concluded with a recommendation of tetralogy of fallot repair. That requires open heart surgery.
According to recommendations by the doctor that performed her first surgery in India, Dr K.M. Cherian, it must be done in the first or second week of January 2019. In a letter signed off by Dr Tom Mwambu, a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon at Uganda Heart Institute, she needs approximately $20,900 (Shs78,375,000) for her travel, surgery and other costs.