Delhi: 18-hour-old undergoes open heart surgery

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New Delhi, March 31: An 18-hour-old infant underwent an open heart surgery at a hospital here, and doctors said on Tuesday that the boy was now in a stable condition.

The boy, whose name has not been revealed, is believed to be the youngest reported patient to undergo such a major surgery. [UP shocker! Doctor carries out sterilisation surgery on 27 women in 1 hour]

The infant was born in Mathura in Uttar Pradesh in December last year, with a complication called obstructed critical total anomalous pulmonary venous connection (TAPVC).

This is a medical condition in which the blood does not take the normal route from the lungs to the heart and out to the body. He was rushed to Delhi.

Medical sciences says that in such a condition the veins from the lungs are attached to the heart in abnormal positions.

The abnormal veins are also narrow and blood tends to dam up. The oxygenated blood enters or leaks into the wrong chamber and blood gets dammed in the lungs.

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"There was only one way to deal with the complication and that was surgery," said K.S. Iyer, executive director (Paediatric and Congenital Heart Diseases) at the Fortis Escorts Heart Institute (FEHI).

"The blood passing through the aorta to the body does not have normal amount of oxygen, which causes the child to become breathless and look blue," he said.

A decision to perform an open heart surgery was taken in mid-December. It involved cutting the chest open and performing the surgery on the muscles, valves and arteries of the heart.

Iyer said the child had abnormal and narrow veins, posing a huge challenge.

S. Radhakrishnan, director and HOD Paediatric, who was part of the surgery team, said: "Treating a patient of such a young age is always difficult.

"Even after the surgery, the challenges were not over as post-surgery the chest had to be kept open for three days to keep the new born under dedicated observation for any emergencies."

According to the doctors, currently the infant is showing normal growth.

The press conference was organised to make the complicated case public.

According to the health ministry, nearly 180,000 children are born with heart defects each year in India, requiring intervention in the first year of life itself.

Of these, nearly 60,000-90,000 suffer from critical cardiac lesions.

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