Looking at 18-month-old M. Siva, not many would believe he has a one-rupee-coin-size pacemaker on his heart. Today, the toddler is healthy and leads a normal life.

But this was not the case a year ago. M. Lalaiah, a farmer, and his wife Mallamma from Mahabubnagar district had lost all hope as the infant suffered from inability to feed, lack of growth and other problems due to a congenital heart block.

He was brought to Sunshine Hospital when he was six months old and weighed 5 kg. His heartbeat rate was 35 beats a minute as against the normal of 110 to 120, says Dr. Jayakeerthi Y. Rao, cardiac electrophysiologist.

Initially, the plan was to implant the pacemaker through a vein below the collar bone as it is usually done. However, given the child’s low weight and health condition, it was ruled out, and a decision to open the chest and plant the pacemaker on the heart was taken, says Dr. Krishna Prasad, chief cardiothoracic surgeon. It has been some six months since the surgery, and Siva is healthy today. The pacemaker will last for nearly five years, and the child in his lifetime has to use nearly seven pacemakers. He can lead a normal life, playing sports and games, says Dr. Rao.

The pacemaker will last for nearly five years, and Siva in his lifetime has to use nearly seven pacemakers