Heart surgery on foetus

Heart surgery on foetus
Highlights

Doctors of Care Hospital in Hyderabad performed a heart procedure on an unborn in what is claimed to be the country’s first foetal heart procedure

Hyderabad Care hospital performs India’s first foetal procedure

Doctors of Care Hospital in Hyderabad performed a heart procedure on an unborn in what is claimed to be the country’s first foetal heart procedure. A team of eight doctors led by K Nageshwar Rao performed the operation on a 27-week-old foetus.

Dr B Somaraju (second from right) wishing Sirisha a quick recovery post fetal surgery

25-year-old Sirisha’s unborn was diagnosed with severe obstruction in the aortic valve, which was resulting in the failure of blood pumping from the left ventricle to the body. The echocardiogram had showed that there was damage in the form of leakage of a mitral valve and shrinkage of a left-sided heart chamber.

There were many hurdles to the procedure. But the major concern was that the equipment needed for the procedure was not commonly available. For this, special needles were imported and specific balloons were manufactured for the foetus in a week. Funding was arranged by the Care Foundation.

After carrying out discussions with the couple, a procedure was first attempted in the 26th week of pregnancy. However, it could not be done due to the unfavorable foetal position.

Then, in the 27th week, a two-and-half hour long procedure was carried out by a team of doctors. The foetus was given intramuscular injection in the thigh for foetal anesthesia to avoid movement during the procedure. A needle was entered into the foetus’s left ventricle by way of the mother’s abdomen. With an appropriate balloon and wire, the aortic valve was dilated to relieve the valve block. The baby was given medication to maintain heart rate and circulation.

Sirisha was discharged two days later. She was re-admitted for assessment and the foetal heart scan showed partial relief of the aortic valve obstruction. There was no mitral valve leak.

“This kind of procedure is first-of-its-kind in India. Foetal procedure is one of the latest techniques that are used to treat birth defect in the foetuses. Sirisha is advised to undergo childbirth at a tertiary care centre. The baby would need another heart procedure after birth,” said Dr K Nageshwar Rao, chief pediatric cardiologist.

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