In the first such case in the world, a 17-year-old girl Mythili, underwent a ‘double switch surgery’ using a new technique, called the Ozaki technique on the right chambers of her heart.
The method involved recreating the pulmonary valve using the pericardium (the membrane enclosing the heart). In Mythili’s case, a conduit was also made using the same membrane, which meant no external conduit was required.
The complicated and first-of-its-kind surgery was performed at GKNM hospital in Coimbatore by Dr Vijay Kumar and Dr Christopher W Baird, a pediatric cardiac surgeon from Boston who was visiting the hospital.
Mythili was diagnosed with multiple holes in her heart. She had corrected transposition of great arteries (CTGA) — a rare heart defect in which the heart's lower half is reversed — with Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) and pulmonary stenosis. In this condition, there are two defects. The right ventricle grows on the left side of the heart and the left grows on the right. The two main blood vessels, aorta and the pulmonary artery arise from the wrong chambers of the heart. Since the ventricles are in the wrong positions, the left one pumps impure blood into the pulmonary artery and the right one pumps blood into the aorta.
In conversation with FIT, Dr Vijay Kumar explained,
Dr Vijay Kumar“All her heart chambers were totally deranged. She was born with a complex congenital heart disease and a big hole in the heart. The blood flow to the lungs was obstructed. The surgery was high risk, but there was no other way for her to lead a normal life. We explained the complications to the parents, and they were willing to go ahead.”
Such complications meant she needed two surgeries. But with this novel technique, the doctors managed to treat these multiple issues in a ten-hour surgery, also bringing down the treatment cost. She would have needed an artificial tube, which would have been very expensive. The doctors, instead, used the Ozaki technique to create the blood tube on the table during the surgery.
Mythili’s father, a laborer who earns his livelihood by cutting trees in the forest, was only able to arrange 1 lakh rupees. The hospital then reached out for donation to Genesis Foundation, which committed to contributing 2 lakh through its CSR partnership with Oracle India.
Jyoti Sagar, Founder of Genesis Foundation, said, “The core of Genesis Foundation lies in providing a chance to lesser privileged so that nobody loses the right to a healthy life due to lack of funds. It’s a very heartening moment for us to see technology playing such a huge role in making possible complex surgeries like Mythili’s.”
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