Chandran (14) would sit down every time he had breathlessness since his birth. Hailing from a tribal family from Parithipuram, Villupuram district, Chandran came to Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital as he was suffering from congenital squatting cyanotic spell, a common cause for Blue Baby Syndrome with breathing, vomiting, headache and giddiness.
Through a series of tests like ECG, CT Scan and Cath study, Chandran was diagnosed with multiple rare complications including a double outlet right ventricle with ventricular septal defect and pulmonary cinohessis.
In simple terms, the boy had both the pulmonary artery and aorta connected to the right ventricle of the heart, when they should be connected to the left ventricle. This condition, called hypertrophy, left the heart muscles thick.
This condition caused mix up of both pure and impure blood, causing other complications, said Dr V Kanagasabai, Dean, MMC and RGGGH. A team of doctors, led by the cardiothoracic department’s Dr Ganesan, performed a complex surgery on the boy on October 5 for over five hours. They split the superior vena cava vein and connected it to the lungs directly to reduce pressure on the heart. The vein, which connects the upper body to the heart, is supposed to be connected to the lungs, through the heart.
Doctors said the two complex and rare operations saved the boy from brain abcess, stroke and pulmonary oligemia apart from breathlessness, bluing of the body and reduced blood circulation to the brain that he was earlier suffering.
“He would often have headaches and breathing problems, and would not eat properly. Today my son is able lead a normal life,” said Shanthi, Chandran’s mother.
Doctors said that the congenital heart disease the boy was suffering since birth was mainly due to marriage among blood relations. He had been suffering from various other symptoms of the disease since his birth including improper opening of the anus and a drumstick-like appearance of the fingertips The complication itself was rare with one in 10 lakh people suffering from it, doctors added.
“We took him to a hospital in Puducherry but they gave medicines and said he will be alright. But he continued to suffer. So we brought him here,” Shanthi said as Chandran added that he was feeling much better.
Dr Kanagasabai said that surgery and the 40-day hospital stay would have cost `10 lakh, but the boy underwent the surgery for free under the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme.