Baby’s protruding heart tucked inside body

Surgeons in New Dehli, India, operate on a 10-day-old baby whose heart was outside his chest.
Indian government doctors Thursday eased the protruding heart of a 10-day-old baby boy back into his body in what they called a critical but successful surgery.

A.K. Bisoi, cardiothoracic surgeon at New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences, told CNN that his 13-member team did not stop the child’s heartbeat as they performed the 3-hour operation. The dangling organ has been successfully placed in a space surgically created between the chest and the abdomen, he said. “The baby is stable. He may not require any other surgery,” Bisoi said. Nonetheless, the doctors will keep him under observation and will not comment on when he can be discharged. Bisoi explained that surgeons had to displace organs including the lungs and the liver as they created a space for the heart. “We will have to keep a watch on how those organs respond,” he said. Watch more on the surgery

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The baby was born August 25 in a remote village in India’s eastern state of Bihar along the border with Nepal. He was admitted to the hospital the next day with acute dehydration and infection that doctors say he probably caught during a 683-mile (1,100-kilometer) journey in a rickety train compartment. Specialists replaced the baby’s infected blood and covered his heart with a synthetic membrane. Bisoi described the case — called ectopia cordis, which only affects five to eight cases in 1 million live births — as a “lifetime opportunity” that might shed light on how to deal with similar conditions in the future. “You are daring to correct a defect of Mother Nature,” he told CNN a day ahead of the surgery. All India Institute of Medical Sciences, a state-run hospital, carried out the operation free of cost.

The child’s 24-year-old father, Chander Majhi, is a laborer in Bihar, one of India’s most impoverished states. He said he felt indebted to the doctor in his home state as well as the hospital specialists. The Bihar doctor had not only referred the baby to the hospital but also financed the trip.