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Chubu Hospital successfully performs rare heart operation

Date Posted: 2003-10-31

Doctors at Chubu Hospital have successfully performed a rare heart operation on a newborn baby boy who was born with underdeveloped heart. It was only the third such operation performed in Chubu Hospital and the first one to succeed. The operation involves creating and artificial aorta to replace the underdeveloped one that prevents the heart from pumping blood at a normal rate. If untreated the condition leads to a certain death within a couple of weeks.

Doctors at Chubu Hospital say that this kind of operation, called the Norwood operation, has a success rate of only 60-70 percent, even in the United States. Two earlier attempts to perform the operation in Chubu Hospital did not succeed and the babies died.

The baby who underwent the successful operation was born July 13, and was taken to Chubu Hospital two days later. As he weighed only 2,500 grams doctors were first unsure whether he could withstand the ordeal. However, when the parents pleaded for them to try, they decided to perform the 12-hour operation. The doctors said that against all odds the baby survived. He has since gained weight to 4,000 grams, is eating and developing normally.

Dr. Jin Ganaha, the pediatrician who led the team, said that they succeeded because they had a great team. “We were able to make it because we have a great team. Our heart surgeon did an excellent job, and everyone else contributed to the success alike although this was the most difficult case in my career,” Dr. Ganaha said.

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