AIIMS performs rare heart surgery on an eight-day-old infant

Operation miracle


The baby before the operation. Courtesy: NDTV

After a three-and-a-half-hour-long surgery, doctors said that the procedure was successful and the condition of the baby was stable.“The baby has been shifted to the ICU after the surgery. His condition is stable but this is a critical phase. We have to see how he responds to the surgery. Every minute is important,” Dr A K Bisnoi, cardio-thoracic surgeon, AIIMS, who led the team, said. He said, “Only when he goes back home hale and hearty, can we conclude that this is a successful path-breaking surgery in the history of AIIMS.”

Born on August 26, the infant was brought to the hospital by his parents from Bihar, with his heart protruding out of the chest. The condition is known as ectopia cordis in medical terms. Wrapping the baby in a dirty cloth by his parents led to septicaemia which further complicated the condition. Ectopia cordis, is a birth defect wherein the heart is abnormally located. It occurs in five to nine cases per million births and the mortality rate is very high. Dr Bisnoi said: “We decided to do the surgery without suspending his body functions as was planned earlier.

As there was no space in his body to accommodate the heart, we created a window between the chest and abdomen to place the heart. Then gradually rotated the heart and put it back in the newly created space.” Doctors had earlier planned to put the baby on a heart-and-lung machine and lower his body temperature to 18 degrees celsius, thereby suspending his body functions for 30 minutes.

“Our biggest achievement is that this child survived for eight days. Generally, babies born with such conditions die immediately,” Bisnoi said. “Worldwide, 230 such cases have been reported and only three have survived this condition,” he said. This is the fifth such surgery the institute has conducted. The team of doctors which conducted the surgery included a paediatric anaesthetist, a paediatric surgeon and a cardio-thoracic surgeon.

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