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Rare heart surgery sets little boy right

Doctors performed corrective surgeries on Varun who was suffering from Situs ambiguous — in simple terms it means Varun’s organs were not aligned as they usually are.

delhi Updated: Aug 29, 2007 04:32 IST
Vidya Krishnan

Rewired connections normalised, holes closed, obstructions removed and flow appropriately redirected and badly in need of a major overhauling. If you thought this was a job for an automobile mechanic, think again.

This is the list of diseases 18-month-old Varun Gupta was suffering from, before he came to the Capital with a rare, complex congenital disease.

Varun was suffering from Situs ambiguous — in simple terms it means Varun’s organs were not aligned as they usually are.

“His liver was midline instead of being on the right, stomach was on the right side, veins were turning left where they were supposed to turn right and to top it all, he had a free-floating intestine in the abdomen,” said Dr Rajesh Sharma, Paediatric Cardiac Surgeon, Fortis Hospital.

In addition, the veins in Varun’s heart were returning blood — both pure and impure — to the right upper chamber. “Normally, the blue blood enters the right upper chamber and the pure (red) blood from the lungs enter the left upper chamber. His left ventricle, became very small,” added Dr Sharma.

There was also a hole between the two ventricles and both arteries arose from the right ventricle. “In normal cases, the aorta that supplies blood to the body exits from the left ventricle, while the pulmonary artery that conveys impure blood to the lungs exits from the right ventricle,” explained Dr Kini, Senior Consultant, Fortis Hospital.

It was too risky to operate when Varun was younger and chances of survival were remote. “At the time of birth, he was blue in colour, which was due to the impure blood going to the wrong chamber. We decided to wait till he became stronger,” added Dr Sharma.

After waiting for 18-months, doctors decided to perform corrective surgeries. “Though his body was growing, his left ventricle had not grown, as it was not getting much blood. Varun ran the risk of being stuck with a small-sized heart forever,” said Dr Kini. In a four-hour long surgery, doctors stopped the heart and removed the obstruction and rewired the nerves.

“There were times when Varun’s condition caused anxiety and even after surgery, his body went through a cycle of swelling. He was on dialysis periodically but after 17 day, Varun was finally removed from the ventilator. Now, I truly believe that nothing is impossible,” said his beaming mother.