A premature baby has undergone open heart surgery in Bangalore, southern India. Jonathan, 27 weeks old, weighs 900 grams. He is almost the size of a palm. Born after a gestation period of less than seven months, he underwent an open heart surgery at the premier Wockhardt Hospital.
The baby developed breathing difficulties within two weeks of birth. After severe weight loss, up to one tenth of his weight, Jonathan was put on ventilator support and his chances of survival were very thin.
Jonathan's heart was just one-inch-long and had a one-centimetre of fungal mass in the right chamber which had infected his blood. An open heart surgery was his only chance of survival, but was risky, considering his loss of weight, reports the Times of India.
"Since the infection was spreading fast, the risk was higher. We were left with no option but to do an open heart surgery. There were chances of post-surgical infection because of the use of heart machine, but we could not avoid the use of heart-lung machine, as it was the only way to access the tiny heart, which was just an inch long,'' said Dr N S Devananda, cardiovascular surgeon.
The six-hour surgery was led by Dr Devananda and Dr Prakash Vemgal, paediatric critical care specialist on January 10.
Post-operative care was another crucial issue because of the possibility of several complications after surgery: apart from risk of infection, such patients could also suffer from internal bleeding and major organ failure.
"After surgery, we put him on anti-fungal medication for eight weeks and examined him for repeated infections. Periodic scans for organ malfunction or distress were performed. Jonathan is responding well, his vital organs are functioning normally with brain development. Currently on breast milk, he is being given 1 ml milk. His weight has increased to 1.8 kg,'' said Dr Vemgal.
Jonathan was discharged last month after eight weeks of post-operative care at the hospital and he is not under any medication.
However, doctors say he should be closely monitored for the next six months to prevent infection.