A baby girl, weighing 1.6 kgs, recently underwent a critical heart surgery where a 25-gm pacemaker was implanted to keep her heart, the size of a walnut, beating. Paediatric cardiac surgeons called it a miracle baby. They said that the 2.5-cm pacemaker battery occupies almost one third of the baby’s abdominal region.
The baby’s 40-year-old mother is a homemaker and lives in Ambernath. The woman, who requested anonymity due to personal reasons, said the baby’s heart condition was diagnosed in the second trimester. Doctors said that an echocardiogram of the mother when she was six months pregnant showed that the baby was suffering from a heart condition called as Intrauterine Growth Retardation (IGUR).
The condition, which occurs in almost 3-5% of pregnancies, compromises and restricts the child’s growth due to a reduced heart capacity. Since the heart beats slower than usual, it fails to pump sufficient blood in the body of the foetus, restricting its growth.
“The most important factor which contributed to the baby’s survival was the diagnosis before birth. Within four days after the baby’s was born, we operated upon it to implant the pacemaker,” said Dr Suresh Joshi, senior consultant and peadiatric cardiac surgeon from Wockhardt Hospital in Mumbai Central.
Doctors said that while the usual heart capacity of a new born is about 110-140 beats a minute (bpm) the baby girl’s heart beat was only 35-40 bpm at birth. “The baby wasn’t premature but due to IGUR, it weighed only 160gm. The heart is of the size of a fist,” Dr Joshi added.
During the one-and-a-half-hour surgery, the surgeons implanted the electrodes of the pacemaker to the baby’s heart and the batteries of the pacemaker were secured in the child’s abdominal wall. “The baby’s torso was about six to seven centimetre wide. The pacemaker almost occupies one third of the space — from top of the abdominal area to umbilical cord,” said Dr Joshi.
Doctors confirmed that the surgery was successful and now after a week, the baby is recuperating well. Since the pacemaker’s batteries last about six years, the baby will undergo another surgery to change the batteries.