A seventeen-month-old baby became the youngest child in India to undergo a life-saving open chest surgery on 22 July, doctors announced.
Thomas (name changed), who was diagnosed with a congenital heart disease, was operated on by doctors at Coimbatore's G Kuppuswamy Naidu Memorial Hospital following four episodes of syncope.
A syncope is a sudden fainting or passing out that happens because of restricted blood flow to the brain.
Thomas was diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome, which causes unexpected, fast, and irregular heartbeat. If left untreated, Long QT Syndrome could lead to ventricular fibrillation, which can cause the heart to pump so hard that it literally gives up and stops pumping blood.
In the worst-case scenario this could lead to a sudden death.
The surgery, was the first of its kind, doctors said, on account of the patient's young age. Thomas' family reached out to Genesis Foundation, an organization that facilitates medical treatment for critically ill under-privileged children suffering from congenital heart defects.
Doctors opened Thomas' chest cavity and placed the device on his heart, rather than inside his heart, as is usually done in this procedure.
The device, called an Implantable Cardioverter-defibrillator or an ICD device helps regulate the heart’s electrical impulses and stabilize the heart's pumping.
“Thomas survived four episodes of syncope before the surgery. He was fortunate enough to survive them all but another one could have been fatal. This baby proved to be a little braveheart to undergo such a major surgery and recover at a good pace. Together we have enabled him to live a near-normal life.”Dr. Vijayakumar, Pediatric Cardiac Surgeon, GKNM Hospital, Coimbatore.
The surgery opens up the possibility of saving the lives of many more babies born with congenital heart problems or diagnosed with heart problems in infancy.
“Every child is precious, and we believe no child should die due to a lack of funds for treatment. At Genesis Foundation we’re always trying to push boundaries when it comes to ensuring support for underprivileged children born with rare heart defects. We are grateful to GKNM hospital and our CSR partner- Wipro GE for supporting us in giving Thomas a healthy and bright future.”Simran Sagar, Operations Director, Genesis Foundation