According to medical experts from the hospital, the patient’s blood receiving chamber on the left side of the heart (left atrium) was hugely dilated and was four times larger than the expected size (called Giant Left Atrium or GLA), which was pressing on the nearby airway structures in the chest.
Giant Left Atrium (GLA) is a rare condition in paediatric population but carries a significant mortality risk. When left atrium increases in size, it causes complications by compressing adjacent structures such as food pipe, spine, pulmonary vessels. These complications are resolved after surgery.
“Also, there was a large hole between the lower chambers of heart (called ventricular septal defect) and the left-sided valve was leaking,” said Neeraj Aggarwal, Paediatric Cardiologist at the hospital.
When the patient was brought to the hospital, she weighed only 6.5 kg and faced troubles in feeding properly. The child was having recurrent chest infections and every crawling movement was interrupted due to breathlessness.
“It was a complex and challenging surgery because very few cases of GLA have been reported in children below two years. We operated the child in single stage open heart surgery where the hole was closed, valve was repaired and the GLA was reduced in size,” Raja Joshi, Chairman, Paediatric Cardiac Surgery (PCS) said.