The baby was born with a condition called transposition of great arteries

Like any other parent, Mrs. Meena and Mr. Vinod were delighted after the birth of their son, but their joy didn’t last long. The baby, was diagnosed with ‘Transposition of Great Arteries’ which is a congenital heart defect where the large blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the lungs, and to the body are connected exactly opposite of a normal heart’s structure. This is one of the conditions leading to the “Blue Baby Syndrome”.

Adding to the criticality, the 20 days old child also had two big holes in his heart. The critical surgery was performed by Dr Muthu Jothi, Senior Consultant, Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals and his team.


Explaining the case, Dr. Jothi said, “Within a week after the child’s birth, the parents witnessed discoloration in his skin tone. His body was turning blue so the parents took him to a local doctor in their area where his echo was done. The reports revealed that he has transposition of great arteries. In transposition of the great arteries, the aorta is connected to the right ventricle, and the pulmonary artery is connected to the left ventricle which is an exact opposite of a normal heart anatomy.”

At the time of admission at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, the child was on ventilation and weighed 2.2 kg. The doctors had earlier decided to allow the child to grow a bit and weigh at least 2.8 -3 kg before performing the major open heart surgery. The baby was kept in critical care on ventilation for a week but unfortunately his condition didn’t improve and he was not able to come off the ventilator. Every time the doctors tried to take him off the ventilation or lower the ventilation, he would get breathless and turn blue.  Considering the situation, Dr Muthu Jothi along with team of expert cardiologists, anaaesthetist etc decided to perform the five hour long surgical procedure.

“Considering the weight of the child being 2.2 Kg, the surgery had a high risk. We had performed many such surgeries before, but this patient weighed the lowest and we generally don’t perform a surgery on patient with this low weight. I had quoted a risk of about 25-40% which is a huge risk but considering the child’s condition and after family’s consent we performed the surgery.  In order to treat the disease we performed an ARTERIAL SWITCH OPERATION in which the aorta and coronary arteries are disconnected from their place and are adjusted in the right place. Along with arterial switch, closure of the holes was also done,” explained Dr. Jothi.

“There is no specific cause behind this disease. However, factors such as an elderly primi i.e.  mother is of an old age, consanguineous marriage i.e. marriage with a close cousin or within the family, poor nutrition during pregnancy, or if mother catches an infection and is on antibiotics in the initial three months during foetus development, women who smoke or drink excessively  have higher chances of giving birth to babies with this condition,” Dr. Jothi concluded.

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