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Updated: September 29, 2012 12:02 IST

Children with cardiac birth defects breathe easy

Staff Reporter
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Three children with congenital heart defects operated under the Chief Minister's comprehensive insurance scheme. Photo: Olympia Shilpa Gerald
The Hindu
Three children with congenital heart defects operated under the Chief Minister's comprehensive insurance scheme. Photo: Olympia Shilpa Gerald

Watching two-year-old Shadiya Begum frisk around the conference room merrily was no indication that the toddler was operated upon for a cardiac birth defect, exactly a month ago.

Dinesh (5), Arifa (7) and Shadiya, are underweight kids treated for congenital heart defects by open heart surgery under the Chief Minister’s comprehensive insurance scheme at Dr. G.Viswanathan Specialty Hospitals. While paediatric cardiac surgery is uncommon in the city, specialists from Tiruchi hospital pulled it off with assistance from a team of doctors from Chennai.

“Cardiac surgery in children below 7 is challenging due to post operative complications and necessity to operate on underweight children. Costing anywhere between 1.5 to 2 lakhs it is not affordable for poor patients unless through the insurance scheme,” said Govindaraj, managing director of the hospital.

The children who were operated in August were under observation for a week in the hospital and have developed no complications in the last month, said T.R.R.Krishna, paediatrician. Without the surgery, the children were prone to experience recurrent breathing difficulty, chest infections and possible pulmonary hypertension in the future, he noted.

Five year old Dinesh, son of an agricultural labourer from Keeranur, Pudukottai, was diagnosed with a hole in the heart or ventricular septal defect (VSD), a condition where an opening exists in the wall between the ventricles or lower chambers of the heart. The heart was supported on a heart lung machine till the defect was corrected. The surgery took around four and a half hours as the hole was found to be 20 millimetres, quite large in a small child, said Dr. Krishna.

Shadiya Begum, daughter of a tea stall vendor from Thirutharaipoondi, was diagnosed with Atrial Septal Defect (ASD), a birth defect with an opening in the dividing wall between the upper chambers of the heart, allowing mixing of deoxygenated with oxygenated blood. “She spent only five days a month at home; rest of the days were in hospital for recurrent cold and breathing difficulties,” said her mother. Arifa Begum from Palakkarai, was treated for patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), creating abnormal blood flow between two arteries connected to the heart - the aorta and pulmonary artery as the blood vessel connecting them does not close as it should typically after birth.

The team of specialists was headed by consultant senior cardio thoracic surgeon U.Rajendran and visisting cardiologist R.Manivasagam.

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