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Lifesaver: Stent implanted in infant born with hole in heart


Publication : The Indian Express

Baby's heart had been cutting oxygen to critically low levels, and had compromised her right lung function.

Doctors who performed the procedure at Fortis Escorts Hospital said this was the first time in the country that a baby with such a low birth weight had been implanted with such a stent.

Dr S R Radhakrishna, director of paediatric cardiology at the hospital, said, "Open heart surgeries are the only curative treatment for babies born with such birth defects, where an alternate tube is inserted to allow more blood to reach the child's heart. Since this baby had such low birth weight and one of her lungs was not working, surgery would have been very difficult. So, we were looking for a method to sustain her till she was healthy enough to be able to survive the surgery."

The baby, Sana, was suffering from a birth heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot. She was born with a 4.5-5 mm hole in her heart and one of her lungs was not functioning properly. The daughter of an electrician, she was born at Aruna Asaf Ali Hospital, from where she was referred to Escorts Hospital under the EWS category. "She is my third child and neither of her siblings had any heart complications. I was devastated when doctors told me my newborn had a hole in her heart surgery was extremely difficult for her," Sana's mother Rani said.

"We used RVOT (right ventricular outflow tract) stenting method where the stent was used to augment the capacity of the natural pathway and the blood flow is normalised," Dr Neeraj Awasthi, paediatric cardiologist at the hospital, said.

This stenting, doctors said, was a transitional procedure. "She had been on ventilator support for a month, and just a day after the procedure she started breathing on her own. We could discharge her within a week. Had she undergone open heart surgery, there was a risk of complications and prolonged hospital stay, which might have created additional complications," Dr Radhakrishna said.

However, he added that she would eventually need open heart surgery when she attains a healthy weight.

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