Ugandan cardiologist scoops top US award

A Ugandan doctor has been awarded a prestigious United States (US) award for his role in the treatment of heart diseases.

Dr. Emmy Okello, an interventional cardiologist at the Uganda Heart Institute (UHI), has been recognized by the American College of Cardiology for advancing the field of Rheumatic heart disease and interventional cardiology in Uganda.

This was announced on Friday by Dr John Omagino, the executive director UHI.

Africa Tembelea has learnt that, Dr. Okello was nominated by Prof. Daniel Simon, a senior cardiologist in the US, and seconded by Dr. Omagino, colleagues from Kenya and the US as well as several individuals from the Pan African Society of Cardiology.

“I have been a cardiologist since 2013 but the award of a fellow of American College of Cardiology is really the highest level of recognition in the field of Cardiovascular medicine,” Dr Okello said.

Adding that, “We deserve this award because as UHI, we have innovated a lot in advancing care for children and young adults with rheumatic heart disease not only for open heart surgeries but also intervention in pinhole surgeries to open damaged and closed heart valves.”

At the institute, Dr Okello performs percutaneous mitral commisurotomy for patients with severe mitral stenosis.

Commisurotomy is an open heart surgery that repairs a mitral valve that is narrowed from mitral valve stenosis. Mitral stenosis is narrowing of mitral valve opening that blocks (obstructs) blood flow from the left atrium to the left ventricle.

Dr. Okello’s research on the burden of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) in Uganda showed that there is a big burden of the disease in the country, which is associated with high morbidity and mortality.

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