A baby girl from Tanzania with a dual problem in the heart has been successfully treated at a city hospital.
Magembo, barely 35 days old, had a typical Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) coupled with an interruption of the aortic arch that made her condition rare (present in barely 1 per cent of all congenital heart diseases) and life-threatening.
“Typically, a VSD by itself is not life-threatening and surgical correction is more an elective exercise. However, in this case the interruption in the aortic arch had started triggering renal failure to signal an emergency condition in the neonate,” said R. Suresh Kumar, senior consultant paediatric cardiologist at Madras Medical Mission.
In Tanzania, the diagnosis only indicated the VSD condition and the interruption of the aortic arch was not picked up. Given the dearth of tertiary facilities in Tanzania and with the new-born baby turning worse by the hour, the parents began the frantic search for alternatives.
“It was also the mother's intuitiveness that the diagnosis could be incomplete that led the family to seek treatment elsewhere,” Dr. Suresh Kumar said.
The baby was admitted at MMM on October 14 when she was just 29 days old. An onset of septicemia and malaria precipitated matters. A team led by Roy Varghese set about stabilising the patient with drugs, ventilation and dialysis and the baby underwent surgical correction on October 22.
The surgery involved suturing a synthetic graft and inserting three cannulas to maintain blood circulation while repairing the defect.
“Chennai proved to be most cost-effective choice compared to Europe or the U.S. and we also learnt that the government shared a contract with Madras Medical Mission,” Fortune Mogambo, the baby's father said.
The Presidential Palace, where the mother's father works as Adviser, helped speed up the baby's referral to MMM. The baby, who is now in the step-down ICU, has started suckling and will be ready for discharge in a week, doctors said.