Four-month-old Aditi of Solapur had at least 20 heart attacks because of a rare congenital heart condition called Anomalous Left Coronary Artery from Pulmonary Artery (ALCAPA), say doctors.
She was taken to Sir HN Reliance Hospital as she was breathing fast, feeding poorly, and crying incessantly. "We did an echocardiography and found that she had an abnormal artery origin which was turning away a majority of the blood supply from the heart," said Dr Shreepal Jain, paediatric cardiologist. He added that the defect, which is medically called ALCAPA, was leading to the baby suffering repeated heart attacks.
‘In the normal heart, the left coronary artery starts in the aorta while in anomalous left coronary artery, the left coronary artery starts at the pulmonary artery.’
"She cried for about three hours continuously, that is when we took her to the doctor who suspected her of having a heart condition," said Preeti, Adit's mother.
"This defect is extremely rare and seen in one in 3 lakh deliveries. Due to improper supply of oxygenated blood to the rest of the body, the child suffered from breathlessness, poor appetite and slow development," said Jain.
In the case of a normal baby, pressure in the lungs normalizes seven days after birth, but in Aditi's case, the lesion diverted the pink (pure) blood, thereby severely reducing supply of pure blood to the heart.
"It resulted in the so-called 'frequent and silent heart attacks' that damaged the heart muscles. Such children usually die of heart failure before their first birthday," said Jain.
Aditi underwent a surgery on February 21, which lasted nine hours. "The artery was disconnected from its abnormal origin and reimplanted at its right place in the aorta. The area from where it was harvested was reconstructed with a patch of the tissue covering the baby's heart," said Shivaprakash, Chief surgeon and head of paediatric heart centre.
"We went to seven doctors and four hospitals before reaching here. She is our first daughter and we wanted to do everything to save her life," said Preeti.
According to the doctors, Aditi's condition stabilized after five days and she is likely to be discharged in the next few days.