A baby boy born weighing just over one pound has become the world’s ‘tiniest baby’ to have undergone a successful heart surgery.
The yet-to-be named baby was born prematurely at 28 weeks just the size of a palm at a government-run hospital in Udaipur in the western Indian state of Rajasthan.
He was too fragile and delicate to touch.
His eyes had not opened, lungs were not developed and skin resembled parchment paper.
But after two weeks, a team of doctors from Geetanjali Medical College & Hospital and Jeevanta Hospital in a ‘milestone’ surgery conducted Patent Ductus Arteriosus-a corrective operation after he developed breathing problems.
They found that the baby was suffering from a condition in which two major blood vessels of heart – aorta and pulmonary artery, were connected.
“Normally the connection between the arteries remains till the foetus is in mother’s womb. It automatically disconnects after childbirth. If it doesn’t, it has to be treated with medicines. In this case, when the infant didn’t respond to medicines, heart surgery was the last option,” said Dr Sunil Jangid, chief neonatologist and paediatric intensivist.
Doctors said that the baby had almost all the body parts weak. They said it was an uphill task to perform a surgery on a baby, who was too fragile and delicate to touch.
“The baby weighed merely 470 grams at birth and was just the size of a palm. Operating on an infant, especially when he is so tiny, is very challenging and risky as the body parts are extremely premature.
“There were many risks involved like respiratory distress syndrome, brain/lungs internal bleeding, feeding intolerance, developmental problems,” said cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon Dr Sanjay Gandhi.
It was the baby’s low weight that prompted the doctors to operate in NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) as shifting him from one hospital to another and then to an operation theatre could be life threatening.
Special miniaturized surgical equipments were used and the baby finally survived all odds.
The baby was conceived to S P Jain and his wife, both residents of Udaipur after many years of marriage through IVF procedure and was delivered by Lower Segment Caesarean Section procedure.
The parents, who are yet to think of a name for their son, say their child’s survival is nothing short of a miracle.
“He is so brave that he has survived so many odds with such low weight. Our prayers have been answered,” the emotional father said.