Baby Ahmed (name changed), a 5 months old baby, who had travelled all the way from Sudan to Columbia Asia Hospital Whitefield, with complaints of breathlessness and low oxygen levels, was in a very serious condition on arrival in Bangalore, and the parents were refusing to admit the child in hospital, not realizing the seriousness of the condition. The child was suffering from congenital heart disease (this is a defect by birth), a condition called Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) with Pulmonary Atresia, where the main tube that carries blood to lungs was not developed.

Dr. Benedict Rajand the team of cardiologists, intensive care doctors, nurses and technical staff stabilized the child’s condition enough to go for emergency surgery. Meanwhile they used the time to convince the parents with the help of translators about the seriousness of the condition and shifted the baby to operating theatre by evening.

“Our main challenge was to convince the parents that the child needs an immediate surgery.The child needed a first stage(emergency) surgery, as he was very young for a complete operation to correct his heart defect. The very first surgery was conducted then where the doctor provided the lung with a small tube procedure, called the BT SHUNT, a surgical procedure generally used to increase pulmonary blood flow for palliation in duct dependent cyanotic heart defects like pulmonary atresia, which are common causes of blue baby syndrome.After this surgery was conducted, the “Blue Baby” became pinkfor the very first time since birth, that night, the child received enough oxygen”, said Dr. Benedict Raj, Cardiac surgeon, Columbia Asia Hospital, Whitefield.

After six months, a second surgery was conducted on the child, which was planned and executed equally well. In this surgery a new tube and an artificial valve was created using the child’s own tissue and this was placed between the heart and the lungs, which is similar to normal anatomy. This artificial valve does not require any medications and at the end of the surgery the child’s oxygen levels in the body was 100%.

It was a herculean task for convincing the parents regarding the seriousness of the child’s condition with a team of 8 doctors which includes anesthesiologists, intensive care doctors, cardiologists, pediatricians and many others.

Dr. Benedict Raj and his team, who believe that world class heart surgery can be performed in India with high success rate at very economical price.

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