Heart defect baby loses battle for life

Surgeons in New Dehli, India, operated on the baby when he was 10 days old.
A baby born with his heart protruding from his chest died two weeks after undergoing complex surgery to correct the problem, doctors said Thursday.

“We have lost him,” said cardiothoracic surgeon A.K. Bisoi, who led the procedure on September 3 at a New Delhi hospital. The baby died of an infection Wednesday that resurfaced after initially being controlled ahead of the operation, Bisoi said. The child born on August 25 was unnamed, but referred to in hospital records as “baby of Vibha”, his mother. He was born by ceasarean section in a remote village in India’s eastern state of Bihar along the border with Nepal. His mother stayed behind while her husband, Chander Majhi, 24, embarked on a 1,100 kilometer journey with the boy to seek medical help. He was admitted to the hospital the next day with acute dehydration and an infection that doctors said he probably caught during the journey in a rickety train compartment.

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Specialists replaced the baby’s infected blood and covered his heart with a synthetic membrane on arrival at the state-run hospital. Watch more on the surgery At the time, Bisoi described the case as a “lifetime opportunity” that might shed light on how to deal with similar conditions in the future. The ailment, called ectopia cordis, affects only five to eight children in 1 million births. “You are daring to correct a defect of Mother Nature,” he said a day before surgery. The baby was 10 days old when doctors eased his heart back into his body in a surgery that took more than three hours.

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The dangling organ was successfully placed in a space surgically created between the chest and the abdomen, he said.

Lead surgeon Bisoi told CNN that his 13-member team did not stop the child’s heartbeat as they performed the 3-hour operation. The boy had been under observation since.