Congenital heart defects, especially lesions, can be treated without surgery too giving new lease of life to the children, said Dr. Rajat Gupta, Paediatric Cardiologist, Fortis Mohali.Flanked by his two little patients, a year old baby girl and six years old boy whom he has recently treated, Dr Rajat said these defects are rare occurrence with incidence of 8 cases per 1000 live births. But considering the entire population and birth rate in India, total disease burden is enormous."Treatment for these defects in children is limited to handful of hospitals across the country. Fortis Hospital Mohali is the only hospital in the region offering complete diagnostic, surgical and non surgical treatment of these lesions," he said.
Introducing his patient Manviis a one year old girl who came to Fortis hospital Mohali with diagnosis of hole in heart (PDA) and pneumonia, Dr Rajat said that she was treated for pneumonia first and one month later her hole was closed without surgery with a metal device."Procedure lasted only thirty minutes and baby was shifted to ward immediately after the procedure and she was then discharged next day. Her cardiac condition is like a normal heart and even she does not need long term follow-up," he said.
Also present was a six year old boy who was diagnosed as a blue baby and complex heart defect with lesser development of one side of heart. This defect could not be repaired but Dr Rajat could eliminate his bluish discoloration due to low level of oxygen in blood resulting from mixing of blood in heart by a series of operations. In these surgeries the doctors altered connections of blood vessels in order to avoid mixing and resultant problem.
"He underwent first operation in infancy and then an angiography with second surgery at six years of age. Though his basic cardiac lesion still exists but he will lead a near normal life as a result of those surgeries," added Dr Rajat. Timely recognition and intervention in these cases is essential as delaying treatment can make even these simple lesions inoperable.To achieve the best results in such cases early diagnosis and timely intervention is a must. Dr Rajat said that these problems can be diagnosed even before the birth of baby and appropriate steps then can be taken. Awareness among the population, treating gynecologist, radiologist and pediatrician is all that is necessary for early detection of congenital heart defects.
These defects of the heart which are present since birth can range from simple lesions like ASD (atrial septal defects ) PDA (patent ductusarteriosus) or stenosis of the valve (aortic or pulmonary valve stenosis), which can be treated without surgery by catheter intervention.The defects can be complex requiring open heart surgery or some times even surgery can not correct the basic defect ( under development of cardiac chamber or heart valve), in such cases only palliative surgery can be done to relieve the symptoms of patient.