Paediatric heart surgeon among nation’s 100 New Faces

ASTANA – Gulzhan Sarsenbayeva, one of Kazakhstan’s 100 New Faces, is among those who conducted pioneer research in paediatric heart surgery.

Photo credit: express-k.kz.

Photo credit: express-k.kz.

“I am one of the few cardiac surgeons who has the skills of ultrasound diagnosis of heart defects, which helps to see the pathology of the heart before surgery, during surgery and after surgery. This colossal experience will help me create a monograph in the future. We, specialists of the centre and children’s doctors of the country, show every day that we strive to decrease the morbidity and mortality level among children. I think that all my achievements are aimed at the health of children,” she said.

Sarsenbayeva was a young doctor 17 years ago when she joined the leading national paediatric clinic. During that time, she continued studying to improve her skills.

“Now, I perform heart surgery on children under conditions of artificial circulation. Even at school, I was interested in subjects such as biology, chemistry and anatomy. I graduated from high school and a medical university with honours. Knowledge that I got thanks to the teachers at the medical university in Almaty now helps me in determining the diagnosis, understanding the disease and, most importantly, in treating the patient. One of the priority areas in national medicine is the health of children. Earlier, our country had faced problems with therapy and surgical tactics in congenital malformations,” she said.

After graduating from the medical university in 2001, Sarsenbayeva was the neonatologist who helped organise and open the first surgery centre for newborns in the Healthcare Ministry Scientific Centre for Paediatrics and Children’s Surgery. In three years, the centre provided specialised medical care for newborns with surgical pathology. At the time, the country experienced problems in surgically correcting heart defects, as Kazakh doctors did not conduct heart surgery in newborns, children below the weight of 10 kilogrammes and those under 12 months.

“In 2005, I completed postgraduate studies in the specialisation of paediatric cardio surgery in Russia as part of the Bolashak programme. After returning to Kazakhstan, since 2009 my practical and scientific activity has been aimed at providing medical care to newborns and children with cardiac pathology,” she added.

Since 2011, Sarsenbayeva has participated in organising the paediatric centre’s cardiac surgery department, inviting a team of specialists and medical personnel. The following year, she opened a department of paediatric cardio surgery and interventional cardiology as the head of the department, which now annually performs more than 500 surgeries on heart and blood vessels.

“In addition to practical activities, I participate in the scientific technical programme on the study of children’s health in the country. I am the curator in paediatrics in the South Kazakhstan region. I constantly visit regions with master classes on the diagnosis and therapy of congenital heart diseases. I also provide assistance and train regional specialists to improve the quality of medical care in the country. All this has an impact on the infant mortality rate in the country,” she said.