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Delhi AIIMS Doctors Perform Risky Heart Surgery On Baby Inside Womb

AIIMS Delhi performed successful balloon dilation in a grape-sized baby’s heart in the mother’s womb.

A 28-year-old pregnant patient was admitted to the hospital with three previous pregnancy losses. The parents wished to continue the current pregnancy after the doctors communicated about the child’s heart condition and consented to the procedure with a wish to improve the outcome.

The procedure was done at the Cardiothoracic Sciences Centre, AIIMS. The team of interventional cardiologists and fetal medicine specialists performed a successful procedure.

According to the team of doctors from Department of Cardiology & Cardiac Anesthesia, along with Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology (Fetal medicine) of AIIMS, “The fetus and the mother are both doing well after the procedure. The teams of doctors are monitoring the growth of the heart chambers to ultimately determine the baby’s future management.”

“Some types of serious heart diseases can be diagnosed while the baby is in the mother’s womb. Sometimes, treating them in the womb may improve the outlook for the baby after birth and lead to near normal development,” the team further said.

This procedure is called Balloon dilation of an obstructed valve in the baby’s heart.

The procedure is done under ultrasound guidance, “We placed a needle through the mother’s abdomen into the baby’s heart. Then, using a balloon catheter, we opened the obstructed valve to improve blood flow. We expect and hope that the baby’s heart will develop better and the heart disease will be less severe at birth,” explained the senior doctor who performed the surgery.

The doctor said that such a procedure can have a risk of life of the fetus and has to be performed with utmost care.

“Such a procedure is very challenging as it can risk even the life of a fetus that also it has very precisely. Everything has to be done under all ultrasound guidance. Commonly all the procedures we do under angiography, but this can’t be done. Everything has to be done under ultrasound guidance. And then it has to be done very quickly because you’re going to puncture the major heart chamber. So if something goes wrong, the baby will die. It has to be very quick, shoot and dilate and come out,” the senior doctor from the team of Cardiothoracic Sciences Centre at AIIMS said.

“We did measure the timing, it was only 90 seconds,” he added.

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