heart foetus

Science fiction finally comes to life as heart surgery is performed on a 25 week old foetus.
It is an amazing state of genius that doctors can finally repair a heart on a 25 week old foetus inside its mother’s womb.

Recently it was reported that surgeons, were able to perform such a complex operation after practising on a jelly mould and a grape, using a fine hair wire, an 11cm needle, a tiny balloon and a catheter. The team from a hospital in Los Angeles, California successfully widened the tiny aortic valve. The reason for this extreme operation was if they did not perform this, the baby would have been born with a life threatening condition.

However, this was truly a miracle, as doctors already stated the operation was already showing signs of being successful. It was a medical first for the surgical team at the CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Centre, in Los Angeles, and according to the LA Times, it appears to have been a success.

It was reported: “The foetal heart was developing with one valve too narrow, a condition known as severe aortic stenosis. This meant the amount of blood coming into the heart was being severely restricted and it was backing up in the left ventricle. Without the surgery, the child would likely have been born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) – a life-threatening condition.”

Dr Ramen Chmait, assistant professor at Keck School of Medicine of USC and director of LA Foetal Therapy, said in an interview with the LA News, “There is no question in my mind that without this procedure the baby would have had HLHS. Now the baby has a chance to have the left ventricle recover with some good function.”

The operation was rather nerve wracking as the mother was given a local anaesthetic and the foetus was given anaesthetic, as well as a muscle relaxant so it didn’t more inside the womb of the mother. The procedure was a first for Southern California.

Yet, in the UK, this operation had already been carried out. It was Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust hospital, in London, which was the first to carry out the procedure, at its Evelina London Children’s Hospital, in 1989.

It is clearly evident that what was once science fiction is slowly being brought into reality. It won’t be long before we see other types of operations like this being conducted inside the womb of the mother.

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