Blue Baby in the Pink after 72-hr Struggle
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27 April 2010
By Sumitra Deb Roy
The delight of holding their first child turned into desperate prayers for the Sharmas from Powai as the newborn turned blue from pink in no time. Just three hours after she was born, the infant gasped for breath, stopped breast feeding and began turning pale.
On being rushed to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of the LH Hiranandani hospital in Powai, it was found that the baby girl was suffering from a condition called severe pulmonary hypertension that affects one in a few thousand.
Detailed examination later revealed that the infant’s blood vessels that carry oxygen from the heart to the lungs were blocked. As a result, impure blood had started circulating in her body. “The bluish discolouration of the skin was due to very less oxygen in her blood,’’ said neonatologist Dr Sanjeev Ahuja. “We immediately put her on a ventilator and medication,’’ he said, adding that the unnamed baby girl was initially so dependent on the ventilator, she would turn blue as soon it was detached. The baby also had signs of circulatory insufficiency with low blood pressure and reduced urine output.
After 72 hours, the brave newborn began to breathe on her own. “She’s doing well and should be discharged soon,’’ said a family friend of the Sharmas. The parents, still worried about their little bundle of joy, did not want to talk about her condition except that she was looking fine. The baby, now 10 days old, is raring to go home.
Dr Ahuja said the case was unusual as severe pulmonary hypertension always occurs due to some underlying problem. “But, in this little girl’s case, it looked like the main problem,’’ he said.
Experts say severe pulmonary hypertension is an uncommon condition but with better neonatology facilities newborns have a better chance of fighting it. “The mildest form of this condition is selflimiting and takes care of itself. But the severe form requires to be arrested early,’’ said Dr Pallavi Saple of Cama and Albless hospital.