Baby's health

Newborn Recovering After Rare Heart Surgery

A 6-pound infant is recovering from a rare surgery in which doctors removed a racquetball-size tumor from her heart the day after she was born.

Anne Therese Felts was in serious condition Wednesday, four days after undergoing the 2-hour surgery at Riley Hospital for Children, where doctors had been preparing for the operation since the tumor was discovered in October during a routine ultrasound.

Cardio-thoracic surgeon John Brown said the tumor was 11/2 to two times the size of the baby’s heart — which is about as big as a plump strawberry. Only 46 other similar cases, called cardiac teratoma tumors, have been recorded in medical history, said Brown, who led the operating team.

“Of all the ones we’ve looked at in the literature, this was the largest in size,” he said. “The shadow of the heart and tumor went from one side of her chest to the other.”

Her parents, Paje and Chris Felts, said the past few weeks had been a “gigantic episode” in their lives.

“I cried a lot,” said Paje Felts, the little girl’s mother. “Of course, we were scared and upset.”

She said she’s been able to hold her daughter, who was born Thursday and is on a ventilator, only once.

Initial tests showed the tumor to be benign, and any microscopic tumor cells left behind generally won’t grow, said John Brown, chief of cardiac surgery at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

“Her future should be very positive,” said Brown, who led the operating team.

No newborn should have to go through such a tramatic surgery just after birth, but it is good they found the tumour early and it didn’t cause any long term effects.


PHOTO CREDIT:Frank Espich / The Star


About the author

Lisa Arneill

Mom of 2 boys and founder of and World Traveled Family. When I'm not running around after my boys, I'm looking for our next vacation spot!

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