Teenager undergoes rare heart surgery

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Bangalore, Sep 19 (UNI) In a rare procedure, a 13-year-old girl has successfully undergone a series of surgeries to correct the wrong posititioning of ventricles and arteries in her heart at a speciality hospital in the city.

Briefing on the complex surgery, Dr N S Devananda, Cardiovascular Surgeon at Wockhardt Hospitals, who operated on her, said the rare heart problem suffered by the Kodagu-based girl was because of the inter-changing of pumping chambers and the great arteries.

"It was virtually reversal of positioning as left-sided organs were on the right side and vice versa. This girl's heart is on the right side," he said.

In such patients, two things could go wrong with time. The heart may start failing, as it may not cope with the body's requiremet of blood circulation, and swapped ventricles. This was likely to lead to blocade of arteries, he said.

"Putting the ventricles in the correct position was the only permanent cure and we told the poor parents of the girl that surgery was her only chance for survival," the Doctor said.

However, the procedure was fraught with complications. The patient's ventricles had started failing and the valves leaking. As a result she had started getting breathless.

The corrective steps demanded that the team had to stagger the entire surgical plan into three phases to put the ventricles in correct position.

The first surgery, which was performed a year ago, created obstruction in the path of blood flow from the left ventricle. It was followed up with the second surgery in which the amount of obstruction was increased.

"Finally, after six months, the left ventricle was ready to take on the entire body's blood circulation. Then we went on the conduct the final surgery -- the double switch operation," he said.

The dangers were many. The surgeons were approaching the heart of the teenager for the third time in a year. However, everything went well and the girl did not develop any heart blockade despite living on a pacemaker, the doctor said.

The final surgery went off successfully and the the blood flow paths rearranged the girl was discharged from the hospital after three weeks in intensive care.

"She is now out of danger and almost ready to go back to school," Dr Devananda added.

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