Chennai cure for city baby’s rare disease

A Chennai hospital has done for six-month-old Tanisha, born with an “ineffective and underdeveloped” right lung and a “very large vessel” supplying blood to it, what hospitals in her hometown Calcutta could not — give her a new lease of life.

One in a lakh babies suffers from the defect, known as Scimitar Syndrome.

The baby girl has “fully recovered” after two surgeries and 42 days on a ventilator at Malar Hospital in Chennai.

“The first time Tanisha had breathing problems and turned blue, we took her to NRS hospital, where doctors could not even diagnose the problem,” said Tanisha’s aunt Kalpana Sapui.

Tests at the Rabindranath Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences, on the EM Bypass, showed that “a very large vessel from the aorta” was supplying blood to the baby’s underdeveloped right lung and there was a hole in her heart, which was also on the right side of her chest.

“Doctors in Calcutta were not confident of carrying out the surgeries. That’s when a paediatrician friend told me about Dr Balakrishnan of Malar Hospital in Chennai,” said Kalpana, who took to the girl to the southern city.

After the defective lung was removed on April 16, when Tanisha was four months old, Balakrishnan, the director of cardiac sciences at the Chennai, used Viagra, a drug for erectile dysfunction, to reduce blood pressure in the baby’s other lung. Earlier, Tanisha underwent a cardiac catherisation, said the doctor.

“Tanisha is our only child. We had given up hope of her survival since the doctors here were in the dark. On the flight from Calcutta to Chennai, she stopped breathing four times and we had to revive her with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Like a miracle, she is absolutely fine after the surgeries,” said Subrata Saha, who works in a private firm, and Deepa, a homemaker.

Copyright © 2009 The Telegraph. All rights reserved.