Prabhakaran, a 'blue baby' born with a heart birth defect seen in only 1 out of every 500,000 births, had 2 "hearts" inside his chest, one within the other. This complex congenital heart disease is so rare that it merited selection out of 430+ submissions to be presented at the recently concluded international conference of the Indian Association of Cardiothoracic Surgery (IACTS) at Mumbai in February 2013.
In an intricate open heart operation that lasted 5 hours, the cardiothoracic surgical team including Dr.S.Sivasubramanian, Dr.S.Visvakumar and Dr.Meenakshisundaram successfully repaired the defect.
Unable to afford the high cost of treatment, Prabhakaran's widowed mother searched desperately for assistance with her son's surgery. His operation was sponsored by the Dr.Mani Children Heart Foundation, a Chennai-based NGO which has funded 100 heart surgeries for under-privileged children with congenital heart disease since its inception in 2003.
In the defect, a rare intracardiac sub-type of TAPVC, all 4 veins returning oxygen-rich blood from the lungs drained into a common chamber (the "pulmonary confluence") - forming a mini-heart behind the regular heart.
This mini-heart then pumped blood into the atrium through a hole in the heart called an Atrial Septal Defect (ASD), making him a cyanotic 'blue baby'. Prabhakaran's surgery was carried out on 16th October 2012. A week later he was discharged from hospital, his lips and fingernails now pink and healthy.
The department of cardiothoracic surgery and cardiology at Sri Muthukumaran Medical College and Research Institute, Mangadu, Chennai has successfully carried out more than 75 operations on patients with valve, coronary and congenital heart diseases in the short period since its inception.
Congenital heart disease (CHD) is rare, with an estimated incidence of 7 to 8 in 1,000 live births. Surgery is often risky and expensive, yet serious complications can arise if treatment is delayed.
For more information about congenital heart defects (CHD), visit the Dr.Mani Children Heart Foundation website at http://www.CHDinfo.com