Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh performs cochlear implant on eight-year-old Nigerian boy with hearing loss

Photo : Dr. Yogesh Jain, Mr. Mahipal Singh Bhanot, Dr. Anup Sabherwal, Patient, Anas Abdullahi Ahmad and his mother

  • He is able to hear his parents’ voices after two years
  • He was diagnosed with meningitis at the age of six, which led to bilateral profound sensorineural hearing loss and is treated with cochlear implant


New Delhi, September 05, 2019 :

Doctors at Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh recently treated an eight-year-old Nigerian patient, Anas Abdullahi Ahmad, who was suffering from bilateral profound sensorineural hearing loss, by surgically implanting a neuroprosthetic device, a cochlear implant. The team of doctors who treated the patient, Anas, successfully were led by Dr. Yogesh Jain and Dr Anup Sabherwal.

At the age of six, the patient, Anas, contracted meningitis. On presentation at a local hospital in Nigeria, he had high fever and had to be hospitalized for five days. After being discharged, his parents noticed that he was not responding properly. Further assessment revealed that the meningitis had resulted in bilateral profound sensorineural hearing loss. Medical opinions were sought from various local hospitals and eventually the patient and his family were advised to seek medical counsel in India.

On presentation at Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh, Anas had been suffering from hearing loss for over two years. He was being bullied by the children in his school and was unable to perform daily activities. He couldn’t communicate effectively with his friends, siblings or parents. He was fully assessed by an audiologist and a CT scan along with an MRI was done to assess the damage and viability of the cochlear nerve. He was also found to be suffering from sickle cell anemia.

A multi-disciplinary team consisting of ENT surgeons, audiologists, anesthetists, hematologist, radiologists and pediatricians tended to Anas. He was admitted one day prior to the surgery for a blood transfusion. The surgery consisted of a right ear cochlear implant under general anesthesia.

One part of the implant was inserted into the cochlea to stimulate the hearing nerve and the other part was external placed and activated after the surgical wound healed. These two parts related to a magnet. After switching on the implant, the hearing nerve was stimulated, and Anas was able to hear. This allowed him to modulate his voice and speak

The post-operative period was smooth, and Anas was discharged within two days. His stitch was removed, and the implant was switched on. Speech therapy and adjustment of the implant’s settings were done in the OPD. As soon as the implant was switched on Anas began responding well.

Dr. Anup Sabherwal Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh said, Anas responded well to the treatment and he can avail further care from the doctors in his country. He has reported an immediate improvement in his ability to hear and respond. The family has hope that he will be able to live a normal life again and will be able to go back to school. Cochlear implants take the place of the sensory cells and directly stimulate the hearing nerve. They can improve clarity, even when hearing aids provide limited benefit. It is better to consider a cochlear implant sooner than later, so the amount of time that the hearing nerve has gone without good stimulation is shortened.”

Mr. Mahipal Singh Bhanot, Facility Director, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh said, “This is another example of how medical tourism is gaining traction in India. Many international patients benefit with the quality and affordability of treatments in India. At Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh we are equipped with all the necessary personnel and equipment to conduct the rarest of surgeries. We are extremely happy that Anas has recovered and that he will be able to live a normal life.”

Mother of the patient said, “It was really frightening when Anas could not or was not able to hear us. We thought his life, at the mere age of six, had come to a complete standstill. As parents we did not know how to keep his hopes alive, how to help him get better or keep him motivated. However, we had to try. When we learnt that the doctors in India would be able to perform the cochlear implant, we didn’t hesitate. Now that he has recovered and is able to communicate with us effectively, we couldn’t be happier.”

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