Fifteen minutes – that’s how old Jaya was when surgeons sliced open her chest to put pacemaker on her walnut-sized heart.
A team of 20 medical staff attended to the 3-pound infant, soon after she was born with a heart beat of 45; a healthy new-born has a heart beat of 120 to 140.
The child, born 9 weeks prematurely, had very grim chances to survive, as she was diagnosed in the womb with a severe heart ailment.
Doctors at Stanford University’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital had told the Indian parents, Leanne Maharaj, 26, and Kamneel Maharaj, 31, during prenatal visits that their daughter suffered from congenital heart block, and they would have to induce labour and force the baby to be born as early as possible to correct the ailment before her heart failed, the Associated Press reported.
“The only way to save this baby was to deliver the baby right away and then the pacemaker,” said Dr. Katsuhide Maeda, the surgeon whose steady hand stitched the pacemaker’s electrical leads to Jaya’s walnut-sized heart. Stanford announced details of the operation this week.
The doctors set out to do a delicate set of calculations and decided on 31 weeks as the delivery date.
“Typically in such cases, a surgeon would connect wires attached to a pacemaker outside the body then perform a second surgery weeks later to install a permanent device,” the media report says.
However, Jaya’s doctor decided to tackle the more difficult challenge of inserting the permanent pacemaker immediately to avoid the second surgery.
The pacemaker should last Jaya about 10 years, the doctor says.
The surgery could encourage other children’s hospitals to undertake similar efforts, says Dr. Michael Artman, the chief pediatrician at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.
“What really distinguishes this is just the fragility of this premature baby and the condition in which this baby was born,” Dr Artman says.
Jaya is now three months’ old and weighs a healthy 8 pounds.