After Deepa Gupta, a nine-year-old from Thane, complained of persistent chest pain, doctors found that the child had a genetic disorder that produced so much cholesterol in her body that she had a 90% block in her left main artery.
Deepa underwent angioplasty recently and had a stent fitted to remove the block. After seeing handful of local doctors, the child was finally referred to Fortis Hospital, Mulund. A battery of investigations revealed that her cholesterol level was as high as 890 mg/dl as against normal average of 160 mg/dl. Doctors also found that the left main artery of the heart that performs two-third function of the heart had 90% blockage.
“The child suffers from a condition called familial hypercholesterolemia that is a genetic disorder and also relatively rare. What is rarer in this case is the rate at which he heart has been affected,” said Dr Swati Garekar, consultant paediatrician, Fortis Hospital, who diagnosed Deepa’s condition.
To treat her condition, and more importantly to salvage her cardiac condition, doctors needed to perform an immediate surgery. According to doctors, Deepa could be the youngest in the country to undergo angioplasty using the drug eluting bioresorbable vascular scaffold (BVS) or bioresorbable stent.
“The usual line of intervention where the left main artery is blocked is an open bypass surgery. But, in a case as young as nine, it is untenable,” said Dr Hansmukh Rawat, interventional cardiologist, Fortis Hospital, who operated on Deepa, the daughter of a street-side food vendor.
“Using a normal stent was not an option because stents are made of metal it would interfere with the growth as the child is young and in of growing age,” he added.
While Deepa’s condition has been managed for now, doctors said she’d have to be extremely careful about her diet and physical activities, in addition to lifelong medication. “She’ll have to have medication lifelong to ensure that her cholesterol is under control,” said Dr Garekar.
The stent itself costa Rs 1.9 lakh and the total cost of the surgery was around Rs 5 lakh, which was waived off by the hospital.
A special stent
The bioresorbable stent works by opening a clogged vessel, thereby restoring blood flow to the heart, similar to a metallic stent, but then dissolves into the body. It leaves behind a treated vessel that may resume more natural function and movement because it is free of a permanent metallic stent.