​​Welcome to Aga Khan University Hospital

Aga Khan University Hospital is a comprehensive tertiary teaching hospital of the Aga Khan University, an international university with eight campuses in 3 continents. Patients treated at the University Hospital benefit from a team-based approach that ensures a high level of quality care. 

Aga Khan University Hospital services are based on the standards of the best healthcare institutions of North America as demonstrated by its Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation. The Hospital services are accessible to the communities it serves in East Africa and beyond regardless of gender, faith or ethnic origin supported by a robust patient welfare programme.  

The University Hospital Advantage:​

  • Specialised and advanced services for complex illnesses and injuries
  • Research from faculty leads to innovative treatments and technologies
  • Connected to the world’s leading hospitals and specialists
  • Commitment to getting to the bottom of every patient condition
  • More opportunity to participate in clinical trials​
The JCI Accreditation Advantage:

  • Developed by health care experts from around the world
  • Evaluated on more than 1,000 measurable elements
  • Care is aligned with evidence-based practices
  • Focuses on a culture of patient safety

THE HEART CENTRE

A first of its kind in East Africa, the Heart Centre is located at the Jimmy Sayani Building which consists of five operating theatres, twenty-three intensive care beds (including a cardiothoracic intensive care unit) and a separate coronary intensive care beds (including a cardiothoracic intensive care unit) and a separate coronary intensive care unit, neonatal intensive care unit.  

The Heart Centre has advanced in treatment of cardiovascular diseases in adults and children. Our cardiac surgery programme offers a full compliment of surgical interventions including; coronary artery bypass, valve replacement and repair, and congenital cardiac repairs to new ground breaking therapies which include Endo-vascular repair of Aneurysms, trans-catheter valve replacements and a wide range of vascular surgeries.  

Multi-disciplinary team 

Our cardiac programme provides an onsite multi-disciplinary team of cardiac surgeons, cardiologists, cardiac anaesthesiologists, interventional radiologists, vascular surgeons, clinical perfusionists, qualified cardiac nurses, dieticians, physical therapists and cardiac co-ordinators. This team expands to include immediate care from onsite physicians from every medical speciality required. The doctors and the paramedical staffs strive to provide you with the safest and best medical care possible.  

Innovation 

Our surgeons are committed to continually study and evaluate new methods of surgical treatments and improving surgical outcomes. One such area is the protection of the brain and neurological system during bypass operations. Patients will benefit from new therapies not readily available at other medical centres. We also offer comprehensive treatment for congestive heart failure including surgical ventricular remodelling procedures. 

Research 

Our cardiac specialists​ include a multidisciplinary team of compassionate and caring healthcare professionals and faculty of the Aga Khan University Medical College embrace and promote evidence-based medicine and strives through research, quality improvement projects, and innovations to fill gaps in cardiovascular medicine in and around East Africa.  

We strongly believe in a multidisciplinary approach in taking care of our patients and their families. 

Our team is committed to excellence, and our goal is to provide safe and compassionate care to our patients and their families. 

Your cardiac surgeons and cardiologist will speak with you and your family during your entire stay in the hospital. We are providing this book to you and your family to guide you through the experience at the heart centre.  

Do not hesitate to ask your consultant or other healthcare team members any question before, during and after your operation. We hope that this information is helpful to you and your family. 

Risk Factors of Heart Disease

There are many different forms of heart disease. The most common cause of heart disease is the narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart itself. This is called coronary artery disease. It usually happens slowly over time and it is the major reason people have heart attacks. High blood pressure, heart valve disease, heart failure and stroke are also forms of heart disease.

Some people are born with heart disease but the major risk factors include:-

  • High blood pressure 
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Smoking cigarettes and tobacco 
  • Physical inactivity
  • Hereditary: Tends to run in the family 
  • Old age​

In addition, contribution factors can include:-

  • Stressful lifestyle 
  • Use of birth control pills
  • Over consumption of alcohol​

​You can help reduce your risk of heart disease by taking steps to control factors that put you at greater risk:-

  • Control your blood pressure 
  • Lower your cholesterol
  • Don’t smoke 
  • Get enough exercise
  • Reduce stress​​

Cardiology Services Information

​​Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi’s ground breaking cardiology programme is a reflection of the important contributions the Hospital is making in the community in the fight against cardiac diseases. The quality of our cardiac care has been considerably enhanced, thanks to the strategic vision of the Hospital, its physicians and the community. The cardiology programme can now offer a continuum of high quality health services, ranging from the emergency treatment of many heart diseases, such as heart attack, high blood pressure and heart failure, through surgery and into rehabilitation. There are several sections of the cardiology programme at the Hospital that offer services aimed at the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of patients suffering from heart disease.​​ 

Emergency Care



The time between the onset of pain from a heart attack and emergency treatment is vital for survival. The longer the heart is deprived of life-saving blood, the more heart muscle is lost and the greater the risk of the patient dying. Modern treatment can open up blocked arteries quickly, but to be fully effective, treatment must be given as soon as possible after the heart attack. That’s why good teamwork is so essential. Emergency nurses and physicians must quickly recognise patients suffering from heart attacks and quickly start treatment to dissolve life-threatening clots. This “door-to needle” time, as it is called, is critical. The faster the “door-to needle” time, the better the outcome for patients. Our advanced triage systems and specialised clinical pathways are on the leading edge of cardiac care. These systems ensure that patients with all types of heart disease are treated rapidly and with expertise.​​

Open Heart Surgery

Heart surgery is a surgical operation done to correct problems with the heart. More than half a million heart surgeries are done each year around the world. Heart surgery can be performed on both children and adults. The most common type of heart surgery for adults is Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG). During CABG, surgeons use healthy arteries or veins taken from another part of the body to bypass blocked heart arteries.  

CABG relieves chest pain and reduces the risk of heart attack. Another common type of heart surgery performed at the Hospital is valve surgery as a result of heart valve disease. Heart valve disease occurs when a valve doesn’t work well. A valve may not open fully or may have problems closing. If this happens, blood doesn’t move through the heart chambers as it should. During heart valve surgery, one or more valves are repaired or replaced. Repair involves the mending of a valve to make it work better. Replacement entails the removal of the diseased valve and the insertion of a new one.​ 

Paediatric Cardiology Clinic


 

The p​aediatric cardiology department at Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi provides tertiary level of care for children with complex congenital and acquired heart diseases accross the region and beyond. The section of paediatric cardiology provides high quality, evidence-based care to children suffering from cardiovascular pathology, both congenital and acquired, and follows a multi-disciplinary approach in taking care of patients as well as their families.​

Concomitant to both the inpatient and outpatient services, paediatric cardiology at AKUH,N is set to embrace all kinds of sub-specialities and services within the cardiac field including cardiac imaging, cardiac catheterisation, electrophysiology and surgery which are all vital in the management of paediatric cardiovascular diseases.

The paediatric dedicated echocardiography laboratory at AKUH,N performs regular two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) echocardiographic examinations for neonates and children with congenital and acquired heart diseases. Fetal echocardiography is essential for early detection and management of Congenital Heart Diseases (CHDs). Babies with CHD diagnosed antenatally go through a multidisplinary planned delivery involving the Obsterician, Neonatologist, Cardiologist and team of nurses in both maternity and neonatal intensive care units.

Parents also go through regular counselling sessions with a post-natal care plan immediately set. Cardiac computed tomography (CT) angiography and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are used frequently in the evaluation of children and young adults with CHD.

At AKUH,N, several cardiac interventional procedures are performed to treat a wide spectrum of CHDs in children. These inclu​de device closure of patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), atrial septal defect (ASD) and ventricular septal defect (VSD), valvular balloon dilatation, arterial stenting and emergency balloon atrial septostomy.​

Ambulatory Heart Clinic​

A full range of modern, non-invasive cardiac diagnostic facilities are provided. Supervised by cardiologists, we have refined our processes to ensure that results from all non-invasive tests are reported to referring physicians within 24 hours. Located at the Doctors Plaza building on the ground floor, the Heart Clinic offers state-of-the-art, non-invasive investigations to the patients in a one-stop setting.

Cardiometablic Risk Clinic (CMR)

Cardiometablic risk (CMR) refers to a condition characterised by standard heart disease risk factors, such as blood pressure, high cholesterol, tobacco use, obesity, glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. The CMR Clinic is aimed at helping patients reduce adverse cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke and death; through education and counseling on lifestyle modification, diet, smoking cessation and physical exercise.

Echocardiography

Sound and waves have opened the door to a type of imaging technique that relays images of the heart and its various structures back to the viewer in a painless, non-invasive procedure. The information gives specialists a good idea of what is happening inside the heart, how well the hearts valves are moving and where the heart may have been damaged.

Exercise Stress Testing

One of the best ways to test the health of your heart is to have an exercise stress test. This is done through the use of state-of–the-art computerised exercise stress testing machines.

The machine allows specialists to monitor the heart rate at rest and during exercise, to check the patient’s blood pressure and to diagnose hidden heart disease.


Electrocardiogram (ECG)

This test is used on patients who have symptoms suggestive of a heart problem, such as a heart attack or abnormal heart rhythm. The test tracks the heart’s electrical activity and transfers the data to a computer and onto a printout sheet. This is the record of your resting heart rhythm and is used to help physicians diagnose arrhythmias.

Holter Monitoring

Round-the-clock assessment of the heartbeat through Holter Monitoring helps clinicians identify the frequency and severity of irregular heartbeats and, with appropriate anti-arrhythmic therapy, to prevent these irregularities from occurring.

Nuclear Cardiac Imaging

Nuclear Cardiology is a non-invasive imaging procedure that produces images of the heart at work (during exercise) and at rest. During the test, you are given an injection of a small dose of a harmless radioactive tracer while walking on a treadmill or at rest. Then a specialised camera (called a “gamma camera”) detects the tracer as it passes through the chambers of your heart, creating various pictures. The pictures may reveal problems within the heart muscle or blood vessels, especially when the images of the heart at work and at rest are compared.

Stress Echocardiography

An accurate and non-invasive way to predict an obstruction to blood flow in the coronary arteries is to image the heart while stimulating it to beat fast. A stress echocardiography test is performed in a controlled environment and supervised by a cardiologist. The images obtained during this test help guide heart specialists on the need for further treatment of coronary artery disease.

Tilt-Table Testing

Syncope (fainting spells) can be a debilitating condition. It is often difficult to determine the cause, making treatment challenging and frustrating. A tilt-table test, supervised by a cardiologist, tests the response of one’s heart beat and blood pressure in response to postural changes. It provides useful information to the physician on the nature of the syncope and how to approach treatment and provides 24 hour blood pressure monitoring.​

Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory


For patients with heart disease, cardiac catheterisation - often called angiography - is indispensable. Done in a specially equipped laboratory, the procedure allows cardiologists to visualise the arteries feeding the heart and helps define the location and the extent of blockages in these arteries. These images give cardiac surgeons a precise idea of which arteries they need to operate during coronary artery bypass surgery or open heart surgery. Alternatively, when the blockages are identified, cardiologists may use a catheter in a procedure called balloon angioplasty and open the artery to allow blood to flow more freely to the heart. Waiting for the procedure is always stressful. We make every effort to ensure that the wait is minimised and that our patients and their families are supported during the waiting process.

Cardiac devices

Cardiac implantable devices such as pacemakers and implantable defibrillators are commonly used for treating problems related to the electric system of the heart. At Aga Khan University Hospital, our team of cardiologists performs implantation of these devices. 

We further support troubleshooting and follow-up of patients with these devices in specialised device clinics. In addition, novel techniques that have been developed to allow implantation of damaged valves and closure of “holes” in the heart without the need for open heart surgery are offered at the facility.

Electrophysiology Studies

In collaboration with our international electrophysiology partners, we hold regular electrophysiology and ablation camps at the Aga Khan University Hospital. Patients who have abnormal electric pathways in the heart, predisposing them to dangerous rhythm disturbances, can thus be evaluated and cured by use of special wires that are passed through a small puncture in the groin. Contact us for enquiries on the next camp.

Cardiac Rehabilitation Services

Aga Khan University Hospital cardiac rehabilitation unit with the latest fully computerised state of the art equipment brings invaluable preventive and rehabilitation services closer to home for residents in the community. Services include scientifically and medically proven exercise, lifestyle education and modification in an environment that provides international standards of safety tailored to meet the needs of patients. Patients are encouraged to make positive lifestyle changes and take charge of their recovery.​

Cardiology Executive Clinic

The Cardiology Executive Health package is one of the programmes provided in the serene atmosphere of the Princess Zahra Pavilion. The check-up is provided by a panel of renowned specialist cardiac consultants using stateof- the-art technology that enables the detection of disease therefore ensuring better management outcomes.​

The Cardiology Executive Health package offers:

  • Blood sugar (fasting)
  • Chest X-ray
  • Consultation with cardiologists
  • Dietician review
  • ECG (electrocardiogram)
  • Full haemogram
  • Lipid levels (fasting)
  • Stress echocardiogram and heart valve assessments
  • UEC’s​

In-patient Care


Once a patient has received life-saving emergency treatment for a heart attack, heart failure or arrhythmia, the rest of our work begins. Following stabilisation in emergency, patients continue the treatment and recovery process in our specialised Coronary Care Unit, HDU and Wards, where committed and caring professional staff provide expert care, for a safe and secure return home.​

Quick Links

For information on our heart specialists, please click HERE

For information on heart failure, please click HERE​​​

For operating theatres patient information guide, please click HERE

For more information about a coronary angioplasty procedure, please click HERE

T​​​o book an appointments, please click HERE​

To refer a patient, please click HERE​  

For information on patient rights and responsibilities, please click  HERE​​​​

For more information please contact;  

Patient Referral Office
Telephone: +254 (0) 20 366 2888/9
Email: patient.referral@aku.edu​​