A one-year-old Tanzanian boy suffering from hemitruncus, a rare congenital heart disease, underwent a critical surgery here recently.

The surgery, which took six to seven hours, was conducted at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals.

Muthu Jothi, senior consultant and paediatric cardiothoracic surgeon, said, “When we first saw Fravianous, we knew the surgery will be risky. But we decided to operate him because he would not have survived without the surgery.”

The doctor explained that the heart normally has four chambers and four valves, where one blood vessel carries blood to the body and the other to the lungs. In this case, the toddler does not have the right lung and no blood vessel going to the right lung. He only has the left lung and the left pulmonary artery arising from the aorta. This condition is called hemitruncus or half truncus, the doctors said. Fravianous also had a big hole in the heart.

The baby’s oxygen saturation levels were lower than normal as he had recurring chest infections.

In order to treat the disorder, the doctors first closed the hole in his heart.

“We detached the left lung blood vessel coming from the aorta, and engrafted a tube between the left lung blood vessel and right side of the heart. The tube, known as Contegra, is made of cow’s veins. The veins also have valves, which we used between the right side of the heart and the lung. The tube is now supplying blood to the left lung. Since the patient only has one lung, he took a long time to recover,” stated a release issued by the hospital.

Fravianous was off ventilator support but the doctors put him back on it for about 12 weeks.

“He is doing well and can go back to Tanzania. Fravianous will need to be on medication for sometime,” Dr. Jothi added.

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