By Bilal Kuchay
A baby born with her heart pumping outside her body has stunned doctors in Pakistan.
Shaista Zahida, 22, gave a natural birth to her first child, a daughter named Laraib Zahid, in a government-run hospital in Pakistan’s Multan city on March 14.
The parents were shocked when they realised the girl’s heart was beating outside her body.
Doctors in Multan, however, said that the infant’s heart was functioning properly although she will require a surgery to place it inside her body.
Dr Ibrahim Ansari said: “In my long career, I have never seen a new born with such a rare condition. Except the heart being outside her chest, the baby looks normal. She breathes normally and is active. The baby may survive if paediatric surgeons can operate her.”
After preliminary care, the baby was referred to Children Hospital in Lahore where doctors have detected her condition as Ectopia Cordis but whether and when a surgery would be possible on the infant is not known yet.
Both Shaista and her husband, Zahid Baloch, 28, a taxi driver are devastated with their first born’s condition and hoping for a miracle that could save her.
Baloch said: “The baby is in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital. She looks normal but we are worried what will happen to our baby as doctors have told us that treatment for such a condition is not available in Pakistan.”
Baloch has asked for help from the Pakistan government so that his baby can be taken outside the country for a surgery.
“Doctors told me that treatment for such a condition will be available in any European country. I’m appealing the Pakistan and Punjab governments to help me. If the government wishes, my daughter can be operated in any foreign country and she can live a normal life,” said Baloch.
The ectopic heart can be found along a spectrum of anatomical locations, including the neck, chest, or abdomen. In most cases, the heart protrudes outside the chest through a split sternum. It occurs in 5.5 to 7.9 per million live births.