A two-day old Emirati baby girl from Fujairah with a congenital heart defect that would have required a heart transplant, underwent a complicated procedure in Al Jalila Children’s hospital where a team of surgeons were able to save her heart and also take her off the ventilator right after the surgery and establish her independent breathing.
Dr Mohammad Al Awadhi, COO at Al Jalila Children’s Speciality Hospital said: “We are extremely happy with the outcome of the surgery that allowed Baby Hessa to have a much better chance of recovering from her serious condition, this is the first step of many to come on her way to full recovery”.
According to a statement from the heart centre of excellence team at the hospital, the baby suffered from Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome — one of the most complex congenital heart disease. The baby had a very small aortic and pulmonary valve and aorta making it impossible for pure oxygenated blood to be pumped from the lungs to her body.
“In this condition the left side of the heart, which is the main pumping chamber to provide oxygenated blood to body, is not developed. This condition is incompatible with life beyond one month of age unless treated surgically in first week of life. Immediately after multidisciplinary team discussion, involving paediatric cardiologists, neonatologists, surgeons, anaesthesiologists and intensivists, the decision to operate was taken.”
The treatment requires three surgeries in phases — the first one was conducted on February 28, the second will be carried out at the age of four months and the final one when the baby is two years old. The team discussed with the family about the high risk life-saving first stage surgery, which is the only option to save the life.
In the first stage which is called the Norwood procedure the surgeons managed to create a conduit to deliver oxygenated and deoxygenated blood to the baby’s heart. Prior to the surgery she was unable to receive oxygenated blood. They have managed to keep a reasonable level of oxygen saturation that allowed the baby to go home with her parents and a monitor.
The surgical result was amazing and the most striking feature of the successful surgery was the baby’s chest was closed and extubated (she was taken off the ventilator) on table in the operating room, which is routinely done only after two to 10 days in ICU in the most renowned centres in the world. This is the first case in the history where a baby has been extubated in the operating room. This signifies a high level of technical performance and quality care by collaborative efforts of the entire team which is planning to send its report the case to renowned cardio thoracic medical journal.
The team that worked on Baby Hessa included consultant paediatric cardiac surgeon Dr Jameel Khan Thareen who led the surgery under the guidance of consultant paediatric cardiac surgeon Dr Robert Di Donato. consultant anaesthesiologist Dr Rajesh Garg who is known to extubate patients immediately after surgery took the lead in anaesthesia accompanied by clinical perfusionist Monsy Sam and Abdul Ahad. Other members included consultant paediatric cardiologist Dr Mohammad Al Soufi, consultant neonatologist Dr Munira Al Maazmi and Dr Anil among others.
The baby’s parents are overjoyed and father Saeed Salem Al Abdulli told Gulf News: “This is our first child and we were very anxious. But the surgery went very well and by God’s grace she is doing very well. Her weight has improved and she is feeding well. My wife and I are thankful to the doctors for saving her life.”
Dr Al Awadhi added: “Our heart centre of excellence team and the supporting surgical teams continue to raise the bar of excellence in providing world class health care for children in the UAE and beyond, and the innovative extubating procedure that they performed is a clear indication of the leading role that Al Jalila Children will be playing in the future as a beacon for innovation in paediatric medical care across the region and the world”.