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 India: Doctors remove Iranian Kurdish boy’s lung with tape worm cyst

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India: Doctors remove Iranian Kurdish boy’s lung with tape worm cyst  21.8.2012   

August 21, 2012

CHENNAI, India,—  Zhegir Hasan Obaid, 18, of Kurdistan in Iran came to Chennai to correct a malformation of a bone between his head and neck. But, before the doctors operated on him, they discovered a more important problem - a large cyst in his lungs caused by a tape worm that usually lives in dog's gut.

Five years ago, Zhegir once fell on a playground in Kurdistan after which his limbs has become very weak. The disease was progressive and Zhegir became immobile. He was brought to Global Hospitals in Chennai for a surgery.

During the pre-operative screening, doctors found that Zhegir often goes breathless. Scans revealed a huge cyst — hydatid disease — on his right lung. Radiologists tried to aspirate the cyst but Zhegir collapsed on the table. A team of cardiothoracic surgeons were called in. "We had no option but to do an emergency surgery to remove the lung," said cardiothoracic surgeon Dr Govini Balasubramani.

Zhegir was on a ventilator for four days. "He was lucky. He progressed with no complication and became ready for the orthopaedic surgery in four days," said Dr Govani, who has treated four patients from Iran with similar cysts. Tape worms are transmitted when fleas that swallowed the worm's eggs from faces of infected dogs are swallowed by humans. The human body is not conducive for tape worm. In Zhegir, the larvae was carrying by the blood stream to the lung where it developed into a fluid-filled cyst the compressed his lungs. But what made Zhegir's case unique was that he had a problem on his spine making it difficult for the doctors during the surgery.

In the second phase of the surgery, doctors corrected the malformation between the head and neck. "It was challenging to put the patient back on anesthesia as he had just come out of the ventilator," said Dr K Sridhar, who heads the department of neurosciences and spine disorders. Doctors used special equipment to drill the bones that were compressing the spine through the mouth. "We then made the patient lie on the stomach, put plates and screws to fix the neck to the spine," he said.

In the next 24 hours, Zhegir continued to remain on a ventilator. But in two days, he sat up in the intensive care unit bed. After nearly two weeks of physiotherapy, Zhegir was able to climb stairs. On Tuesday, Zhegir will take a flight back home. "His parents are happy that he survived two major surgeries. They don't have to wheel him around anymore. He can do things on his own," he said.

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