Doctors give a 4 Hour Old New Heart and New Life

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

This was a first of its kind unique medical breakthrough which the Doctors at Wockhardt Hospitals found themselves to be a part of.The Pediatric Cardiac team at Wockhardt Hospitals, Mumbai at Mulund performed a life saving surgery on a 4 hour old baby gifting a life and in the process creating a new heart.

Pediatric Cardiac Consultants at Wockhardt Hospital have successfully performed a critical 2-hour beating heart surgery to allow the flow of blood from the baby’s heart to her lungs, thereby enabling the child to breathe normal. This life threatening, rare cardiac complication in neonates is called Pulmonary Atresia, that requires to be addressed in a critical window period of just a few hours of the baby’s birth, was accomplished in the state-of-the-art dedicated pediatric cardiac set up of the hospital.

A few minutes after her birth out of a planned caesarian section in a private city hospital the baby was shifted to Wockhardt Hospitals at Mulund .Within four hours of her birth, the baby was wheeled in for a beating heart BT Shunt procedure wherein a synthetic tube (shunt) was inserted to connect a new artery the sub clavian artery -- to the pulmonary artery. The sub clavian artery supplies blood to the arms but is now redirected to share supply to the arms and the lungs.

The child suffered from a rare congenital disorder called 'Pulmonary Atresia" where the the pulmonary valve of the heart which controls blood to the lungs was not developed and no blood was reaching the lungs. The child, however survived for a few critical hours due to ductus arteriosus, a valve that is meant for its fetal existence only. This valve shuts close naturally after birth and the corrective surgery was required within this window.

Pulmonary atresia is a congenital malformation of the pulmonary valve in which the valve orifice fails to develop. The valve is completely closed thereby obstructing the outflow of blood from the heart to the lungs.The only source of pulmonary blood flow is a patent ductus arteriosus. Due to this, the newborn baby is blue in color and pulmonary atresia can usually be diagnosed within hours or minutes after birth.

Foetal Echocardiography is used to diagnose heart defects before a child is born. The diagnosis done through foetal echocardiography helps in treating the heart defect in the child at an early stage especially when many times some interventions needs to be done immediately after the birth. Since foetal echocardiography was done in this case the defect was identified and immediately after her birth the baby was brought to Wockhardt Hospitals for treatment.”

In India, over 2.5 million children are born with heart defects every year and many lives are lost due to lack of proper infrastructure, awareness, and poor planning at time of birth. Some 3 per cent of these cases are of those born with Pulmonary Atresia. Timely detection and early treatment can not only save a child but also help him lead a normal and healthy life.

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