Doctors at a Santacruz hospital successfully operated on a 13-day-old baby who was diagnosed with a rare form of tumour in the throat that hampered the child’s breathing and constricted her vocal cords. This operation was carried on in November. Doctors said that the condition is found in one in every 53,000 live births.
Just three days after her birth, Swarali Patil from Kalyan, was gasping for breath. She refused to be fed every time her mother made an attempt. Her parents, who were alarmed by her behaviour, said minutes after her whimpers, the baby would develop blue colourations on her face, neck and legs. “She kept crying incessantly and her breathing was very noisy. We thought her distress was because of cough,” said Pravin Patil, 35, her father, who works as a mechanical engineer.
Doctors at local nursing home in Kalyan started her treatment for cough, but her condition kept deteriorating. “After they did an X-ray, it was confirmed that there was no cough. They immediately asked us to shift her to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU),” her father said.
While her condition slightly stabilised, doctors were unable to arrive at a diagnosis. A week later, she was shifted to Surya Mother and Child Care Hospital, Santacruz.
To arrive at a diagnosis, doctors at the hospital, used a technique called bronchoscopy which showed a growing fluid filled cyst growing on her voice box. “We diagnosed her with a condition called Vallecular Cyst. We were surprised because the condition is extremely rare both in newborns and adults,” said Dr Nandkisore Kabra, director, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at the hospital.
“The cyst was adding pressure on her vocal cords as a result she couldn’t breathe properly. The lack of oxygen was causing bluish colouration on her body. The cyst must have been present before her birth,” he added.
Swarali was initially put on the ventilator, but in three days, doctors decided to operate on her. “We put a probe through her mouth, made a small burn on the cyst, followed by a cut to drain the fluid,” said Dr Javed Ahmed, a paediatrician at the hospital.
Doctors said parents should not ignore breathing problems in infants. In Swarali’s case, the cyst could have grown and could have been fatal.