Sunday, August 25, 2019

Advances in Medical Care in Vietnam

Twenty years ago I was part of a small group of cardiologist that went to the Behn Vien Bach Mai (Vietnam National Heart Institute) to bring balloon mitral valvuloplasty (a cath lab procedure to treat mitral stenosis, a heart valve disease from rheumatic fever).  At the time, there was one person who did cardiac ultrasound and they had one machine that was about 15-20 years behind US standards.

Last week, I had the pleasure of returning to that hospital, seeing the remarkable advances (cardiac surgery, ICU's, echo lab with 16 machines and contemporary capabilities).  I also had a chance to visit a few other hospitals and a new medical school.  It was great to see medical care catapult to contemporary levels, albeit with cultural differences.  For example, there are still 'wards' with dozens of patients in one room and the need for advanced heart care at expert hospitals is still very high - to the point they continue to occasionally have 2 patients share one bed!

One thing that did not change - the people.  Everyone was friendly, professional, hospitable and gracious hosts.

Here are some pictures:

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