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Uhl’s anomaly: Child from Pakistan treated in India

Copyright: tintin75 / 123RF Stock PhotoA three year old child from Pakistan has been treated in an Indian hospital for a rare heart condition known as Uhl’s anomaly. The successful treatment by Indian doctors has relieved the child of what would otherwise be a life threatening condition, allowing him to live a normal life.

Despite constant disputes between India and Pakistan, there are frequent stories in the media covering citizens of Pakistan receiving medical treatment in India. Medical visas to India from Pakistan have however been limited. A recommendation letter from the Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs is required for obtaining a visa —  meaning that many in Pakistan requiring medical treatment that may be unavailable in their own country are being barred from receiving it in India.

The three year old child, named Mohammad Bilal, suffered from Uhl’s anomaly, a rare disease found in only one in 200,000 children. The cause of the Uhl’s anomaly is an abnormality in the muscle tissue of the right ventricle of the heart. The muscle tissue in this region of the heart is either absent or highly deficient, causing abnormal heart function and an increase in pressure in the heart’s left chamber.

Doctors treating Bilal noted that improper heart function was disrupting the child’s ability to pump blood around his body. This meant the condition was life threatening as not enough blood was reaching Bilal’s lungs.

Bilal was treated with the Fontan procedure and right ventricle exclusion from circulation method, with the procedure taking about five hours. The procedure essentially reconfigures the heart to operate with only one ventricle pumping blood around the body, with blood being taken to the lungs directly from the heart via blood vessels as opposed to being pumped to the lungs via the right ventricle.

“Under this procedure, the entire blue blood of the child’s body was pumped directly into his lungs through a tube and the right chamber of the heart is removed,” the doctors said.

The child was in a weakened state due to low oxygen saturation in the blood for a long period of time before the surgery as a result of his condition. A ventilator was used for four days post-surgery. Alongside this antibiotics were administered in order to prevent infection.

To aid in the recovery, Bilal was placed on a high calorie, high protein and vitamin diet. The surgery and recovery were a success, with Bilal discharged from hospital in the last week of July. Bilal’s father, Mohammad Azhar thanked the Indian government and the doctors at Jaypee Hospital in who saved his son’s life.

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