In a remarkable story from a rural village in India’s Bihar state, a five-day old baby named Vibha Devi has defied the odds by surviving despite being born with his heart outside his chest. Rushed by train to the capital by his desperate father, the baby is now being treated at Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
Doctors at AIIMS have discovered that Vibha also has multiple disorders, including a hole in his heart and only one functioning pump instead of the usual two. Most babies with a condition known as Ectopia Cordis, where the heart is abnormally placed outside the body, do not survive past a few hours after birth.
Despite the challenges, there is hope for Vibha as he has remained stable throughout the arduous 800-mile train journey. Dr A.K. Bisoi, a cardiologist at AIIMS, reports that the baby is currently being treated for infection and will undergo surgery once the infection clears.
In a truly remarkable act of generosity, AIIMS cardiologists, led by Dr Bisoi, are providing free treatment to Vibha due to the family’s income and the rarity of his condition. A team of five surgeons stands ready to perform the extensive surgery if Vibha continues to survive.
“This surgery is a complex procedure that may take months,” explains Dr Bisoi. “We have to gradually create space and reconstruct the chest wall. No infant in India has survived with such a defect.”
Although extremely rare, there are only three known survivors of Ectopia Cordis in the world, and Vibha is the only one with two heart defects. His case presents a unique challenge for doctors, but they remain determined to do everything possible to ensure his survival.
Currently, a synthetic membrane covers Vibha’s heart, and all infected blood has been replaced. In a similar case in 2006, doctors in Florida successfully operated on a baby born with his heart outside his chest, providing hope for Vibha’s future.
As Vibha continues to fight for his life, every extra day he survives serves as an opportunity to further study and understand this rare disease. The doctors at AIIMS are committed to providing the best care and are dedicated to preserving the life of this remarkable baby.
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