Babies with heart defects now have chance of survival
By our correspondent
KARACHI: With advances in medical sciences, babies with heart defects have a better chance of survival and a near-normal outlook in life.
This was stated by Dr Muneer Amanullah, Consultant Paediatric Cardiac Surgeon at Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) while speaking at a seminar on “Management of Birth Defects of the Heart in Pakistan,” held on Sunday.
He cautioned the congenital heart disease remains a major cause of medical complications and mortality.
Explaining open-heart surgery, Dr Amanullah said that it requires the use of a heart and lung machine that temporarily takes up these vital organs’ workload during surgery.
The risk factor in these procedures may vary from five to ten per cent and most cases can be scheduled on a routine, non-emergency basis. He highlighted the two common heart defects, a hole in the heart, and “Tretralogy of Fallot,” which brings a blue colour on the child’s lips and nails. Both defects are correctable by surgery.
He said that in some defects, the heart has only one pumping chamber and palliative operations are carried out to increase blood flow to the lungs or heart. The long-term outlook for patients with a hole in the heart and “blue babies” is good with a near normal life span.
Dr Mehnaz Atiq, Associate Prof and Head of the Paediatric Cardiology Section, Department of Paediatrics at AKUH, said that birth defects of the heart are common and over one hundred thousand babies with heart defects are born in Pakistan each year.
“Four to five thousand among them have serious defects requiring urgent treatment. While most defects are simple, requiring easy surgery, some are difficult with increased risk factors and a few require multi-staged surgery,” she added.