Rare life-saving surgery saves newborn at Calicut Aster MIMS

Posted on : Mar 02, 2021


Calicut, September 5, 2018: On August 16th, as Kerala battled the massive floods, Avin Krishnan was born at Mannarkkadu, Palakkadu. Doctors identified a severe heart problem and referred him to Thrissur Medical College for further examination.

Avin was brought to Thrissur Medical College on August 17th, while the rains were still lashing down. Doctors at Thrissur Medical College confirmed the earlier diagnosis and informed the family that Avin’s birth defect is ‘Transposition of the Great Arteries’ and that it needed urgent surgery.

Transposition of the great arteries (TGA) is a congenital heart defect that occurs when the positions of the two main arteries going out of the heart, the pulmonary artery and the aorta, are switched, or “transposed”. In TGA, because the main connections are reversed, the pulmonary artery which now arises from the left side carries oxygen-rich blood returning from the lungs back to the lungs. The aorta, which now arises from the right side carries oxygen-poor blood back out to the body. As a result, there blood with very little oxygen was pumped by his heart to the rest of the body.

The seriousness of the birth defect had hit the parents hard, and Thrissur Medical College was not equipped for pediatric heart surgery. Dr Purushothaman and Dr Janaki of Medical college suggested the ‘Hridyam’ programme of Government, which extends financial support for the under privileged for heart surgeries in private hospitals. But the empaneled hospitals for the programme were not reachable as floodwater had submerged Central Kerala by that time.

Aster MIMS was in the process of emapanelment for the programme and was waiting for its confirmation. Dr. Srihari, State coordinator, ‘Hridyam’ programme contacted Aster MIMS hospital Kozhikode. Dr. Girish Warrier, Paediatric Cardiac Surgeon, Aster MIMS answered in the affirmative and the next task was to reach Calicut from Thrissur, braving the floods.

Avin set off on this dangerous journey with his father Anoop and Dr. Said Bakri in an ambulance driven by Santhosh. The 130 Kilometer perilous journey started on August 18th in the evening. What should have been covered in less than 3 hours took 7 hours due to the numerous diversions, travelling on roads that were not known, until they finally reached Kozhikode.

Avin underwent a 5 hour-long emergency heart surgery on August 19th morning. The transposed great arteries were surgically switched and corrected when the baby was just three days old. The Paediatric Cardiac Services team includes Dr. Girish Warrier, Pediatric Cardiac Surgeon, Aster MIMS, Dr. Abid Iqbal, Pediatric Cardiac Surgeon, Dr. Renu P Kurup and Dr. Rama Devi, Senior Consultants, Pediatric Cardiology, Dr. Sujatha P and Dr. Sarath, Pediatric Cardiac Anesthetists.

Dr. Girish Warrier opined that it was not an easy task to bring back a new born baby into life through such a complicated and rare surgery. With the current medical advancements, most of the congenital heart diseases are treatable, either as a single surgery or in a staged manner. Early diagnosis and timely intervention is the key to success for such situations, he added. The child’s condition was further complicated due to the difficult logistics involved.

Dr. Santy Sajan, CEO, Aster MIMS said, ‘Other than the complicated surgery, there were many obstacles before Avin Krishnan to get back to life. There was a collective effort from many to save this little baby. From the doctors who identified his problems on the day of his birth itself to the ambulance driver who managed to drive through the floods. I congratulate everyone who were on this mission’