By Bilal Kuchay
A baby girl suffering from a rare condition which has caused her head to grow bigger than the size of a football is desperately waiting for a life-changing surgery.
Seven-month-old Amna Noor, from Abbottabad in the eastern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, has Hydrocephalus – a build-up of fluid inside her skull which can be deadly.
The baby’s head, which measures nearly 40 inches in circumference, has left the infant immobile and unable to eat or sleep properly.
Amna was born to parents Nisa Malik, 36 and Malik Amaan, 38, through a normal delivery but after a gap of nearly 10 years since the birth of their first child, a son.
Her mother, Nisa, said: “We were happy that after 10 years finally God has gifted us the second child.
“The baby was quite normal at the time of birth but her head started growing at an abnormal rate when just after. month of birth.”
Her parents took her to Ayub Medical College Abbottabad where doctors diagnosed her suffering from Hydrocephalus.
Nisa explained: “Doctors told us that the condition can be treated only through a surgery but Amna was too young for a surgery. We were asked to wait for some months.
“But now the condition has left her immobile and she is not able to eat or sleep properly.
“Due to the weight and size of her head, I am unable to change her napkins on my own. I need assistance from my husband or any other family member, which is very painful for me as a mother.”
Nisa and her husband Amaan took Amna again to the Ayub Medical College Abbottabad recently.
They were told that a surgery could be done but it would cost them almost £1900.
The distraught parents, with the help of family and friends, are currently gathering funds for Amna’s treatment and are hopeful that after Eid, they would get a date for surgery.
Amaan, who works in a transport company and earns a mere £80 a month, said: “We have collected some money with the help of friends and family.
“I hope after the Eid holidays, doctors will give us the date for surgery. I pray to God that our daughter’s condition is treated so that she can have a normal life like other children.”
Dr Nazir Bhatti, Professor and Neurosurgeon at Ayub Medical College Abbottabad, said: “The baby is suffering from Hydrocephalus. Her head has grown upto nearly 40 inches, which is too big for a seven-month-old baby.
“The treatment through shunt surgery is possible for the condition.”
WHAT IS HYDROCEPHALUS?
Hydrocephalus is a build-up of fluid in the brain, which can damage tissue.
Aside from an abnormally-sized head, other symptoms can include headache, nausea, vomiting, confusion and vision problems.
Hydrocephalus’ cause is usually unknown but may be due to issues with cavities in the brain or an underlying health problem that affects blood flow, such as heart disease.
It can also be acquired by damage to the brain due to a head injury, stroke or tumour.
Treatment is shunt surgery, which involves implanting a thin tube into the brain to drain away excess fluid to another part of the body where it can be absorbed into the bloodstream.
If untreated, hydrocephalus can be fatal due to increased pressure compressing the brainstem, which is responsible for regulating heart rates and breathing.
A patient’s prognosis after surgery depends on their age and general health.