Heart surgeons save woman with mushroom-shaped tumour

Published: 10 December, 2013 07:00 IST | Shailesh Bhatia |

Doctors performed a risky 6-hour-long surgery to remove the rare malignant tumour weighing around 320 gm, that had engulfed her heart from all sides, and also entered her heart chamber

When Shobha Ranade (63), a housewife from Borivli started experiencing headaches, breathlessness and fever, she initially waved it off as the effects of the weather change. Imagine her shock when doctors diagnosed her with myxoid liposarcoma, one of the rarest kinds of cancer in the heart, with only a few cases recorded worldwide.

Dr Sanjeev Y Vichare of Nanavati Hospital, who operated upon Ranade, said that his team realised the magnitude of the problem when they opened up her chest cavity on the operating table

Ranade had to undergo a six-hour-long surgery at Nanavati Hospital, in which the doctors removed a mushroom-shaped tumour weighing around 320 grams, which had engulfed the heart from all sides, and also entered her heart chamber. The average adult human heart weighs about 200 grams in women.

Less than two weeks since the surgery, Ranade is all set to make a full recovery and is up and about, doing her daily household chores. Speaking to MiD DAY, Ranade’s son Shekhar, who is employed as a manager in a private firm, revealed that his mother had also resumed her daily exercise regime, but would have to stay indoors for the next three months, as per the doctor’s instructions.

“At first, we shrugged it off as illness associated with age and changing weather, but as her condition worsened by the day, my family and I decided to seek medical help. Primary investigations suggested the presence of a tumour in the heart, but its magnitude was not known,” said Shekhar.

Dr Sanjeev Y Vichare of Nanavati Hospital, who operated upon Ranade, revealed that subsequent tests such as echocardiography, coronary angiography, PET CT scan, Doppler tests and blood tests showed that she had a primary heart tumour that required urgent open-heart surgery. “It was only when we opened her chest cavity on the operating table that we came face to face with the magnitude of the problem. The mushroom shaped tumour along with presence of blood fluids, was restricting the cardiac functions,” said Dr Vichare.

Delicate surgery
The doctor added that the removal of the whole tumour required precise excision of the full thickness of the right ventricle muscle, as well as reconstruction of the right ventricle with an artificial patch that is instrumental in restoring the normal size of the heart to fully perform its function of supplying oxygen-enriched blood to all parts of the body.

“It was a total surprise for our entire medical team in the operation theater, when the tumour was removed and measured. The mushroom shaped head was 18 cm in length and 14 cm in breath, with a thickness of 5 cm, while the stem was 17 cm in length and 2 cm in breath with a thickness of 2 cm,” said the doctor.

Dr Ashok Hatolkar, chief operating officer and surgeon at Nanavati Hospital, stated that the complete excision of the tumour was not without complications. “Repeat echocardiography tests are truly encouraging
and showed normal heart function with no tumour, and dramatically improved symptom status. Now all that she needs is periodical medical follow-up.”

This is one of the biggest tumours of the heart that I have ever encountered in my 26 years of practice, making it one of the rarest of rare cases.
- Dr Robin Pinto, cardiologist

There are different aspects to this case, which classify it amongst the rarest of rare. First is its occurrence, followed by its size and the fact that it was successfully removed.
- Dr Bharat Dalvi, cardiologist 

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