Amidst Lockdown, Life-saving Surgery at MGM Healthcare

Two-day-old, born with a rare and major birth defect got new lease of life

Chennai: Amidst the COVID-19 lockdown, a life-saving keyhole surgery was performed at MGM Healthcare in Chennai on a two-day-old newborn, born with a rare and major birth defect called Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia. The surgery has given the baby a new lease of life.

The baby, which was born with a twin, was found having breathing difficulty immediately after birth. Antenatal scans did not show any complications. However, after birth, an X-ray and further detailed examination showed the infant to be suffering from Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia – a diaphragm defect that causes the intestines to move into the chest cavity through a hole in the diaphragm.

This rare birth defect affects 1 in 4,000 newborns and is said to cause severe respiratory distress which can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated immediately. In India, the survival rate in 2019 was reported to be around 60%. The success of these cases usually depends on how well the lungs have been developed, lung pressure and the presence of defects in other vital organs.

The surgeons performed a minimally invasive thoracoscopic surgery day two post-delivery after ensuring that the heart and other vital organs were normal. Post-surgery, the infant was kept under observation and was discharged after six days.

Dr Binu Ninan, HOD of Paediatrics and Neonatology at MGM Healthcare, stated, “Healthcaring never stops – that is our philosophy here at MGM, especially during times of emergencies. We are more than delighted as we were able to provide this lifesaving service during the COVID-19 lockdown – a time when people are under the impression that all efforts are going only towards COVID-19. It is paramount that babies born with such conditions are monitored in a tertiary care Neonatal ICU with a competent team capable of handling neonatal intensive care as well as neonatal surgery and anaesthesia.”

Dr. Balamourougane, Senior Paediatric Surgeon at MGM Healthcare, who was a part of the surgical team, said, “In select candidates, thoracoscopic repair (Key Hole Surgery) can be offered. This was one such case. The advantage is a better cosmetic effect, less pain and minimal chest deformity.”

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