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Newborn operated on for rare heart problem

Barely four hours after Disha was born in a south Mumbai hospital,she was rushed to another hospital to undergo a surgery for one of the rarest heart complications.

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai |
January 6, 2009 1:13:21 am

Barely four hours after Disha was born in a south Mumbai hospital,she was rushed to another hospital to undergo a surgery for one of the rarest heart complications. Hours later,she became one of the youngest in India to be successfully operated on for pulmonary atresia — a condition where the heart is not developed enough to pump blood to the lungs for purification.

Disha’s mother,Vaishali,had appealed to the Bombay High Court seeking medical termination of pregnancy after the foetus was detected with a heart defect. Vaishali’s husband,Parag P who is an accountant,said that in their case there was a sure surgical option available after birth unlike that in Niketa Mehta’s case who moved the plea to permit an abortion of her 25-week-old foetus.

“A day after Niketa Mehta’s abortion plea made news,we came to know of the heart defect in our foetus. But we had no plans to abort it as Vaishali had already crossed her 27th week of pregnancy and it could have proved fatal for her,” said Parag. “In Disha’s case,the pulmonary valve of the heart which controls blood to the lungs was not developed because of which blood was reaching the lungs,” said Dr Suresh Joshi,consultant pediatric cardiac surgeon,Wockhardt hospital,where Disha was operated.

“Once the heart defect was diagnosed through sonography,we were referred to Dr Suresh Joshi who told us about the treatment procedure. We took a decision to treat our child soon after the birth. Since we had an idea about the expenditure to be incurred on the treatment we had made the arrangement in advance,” said Parag.

“The child,however,survived a few critical hours due to ductus arteriosus,a valve that is meant for its fetal existence only. This valve shuts naturally after birth and the corrective surgery was required within this window,” added Dr Joshi.

The surgery was performed soon after the baby was born on October 10. As soon as the baby was born at the Breach Candy Hospital,our cardiac ambulance stationed outside the hospital rushed the baby to Wockhardt Hospital. The team performed a 2-hour heart surgery to allow the flow of blood from the baby’s heart to her lungs enabling the child to breathe normally.

“Within four hours of her birth,Disha was wheeled in for a beating heart BT Shunt procedure wherein a synthetic tube 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 was redirected to share supply to the arms and the lungs,” said Dr Joshi.

“We were able to perform the life saving surgery immediately after birth because the problem was detected in time,” said Dr Swati Garekar,consultant pediatric cardiologist,Wockhardt hospital. 

Four months after she was born,Disha was declared her fit after being under close observation. She needs to be operated again six months later to help her lead a normal life,said the doctors. Asked Parag whether his daughter can lead a normal life,he replied,“Though she cannot take part in any athletic events,I’m happy that my girl has survived.”

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