A premature infant weighing just 1,350g has been successfully treated for a congenital heart defect following a catheter-based procedure performed a month after her birth, the Taichung Veterans General Hospital said yesterday.
She is the lightest baby in Taiwan ever to undergo the procedure, the hospital said.
The girl, who is now 80 days old and weighs 2,295g, was discharged from the hospital yesterday after making a full recovery.
The girl was born on Dec. 23 last year at 30 weeks gestation and weighed 1,280g at the time, according to the hospital’s chief of pediatrics Fu Yun-ching (傅雲慶).
After a heart murmur was detected and symptoms consistent with heart failure were seen, she was diagnosed with patent ductus arteriosus, an abnormal heart condition in which an artery in the heart remains open after birth, Fu said.
The ductus arteriosus is an artery that allows blood to bypass the pathway to the lungs while babies are in the womb. They usually close within the first hours after birth. Patent ductus arteriosus is more often seen in premature babies, although it can also affect full-term infants.
After medication failed, the baby was given the catheter-based procedure on Jan. 25, the doctor said.
For a newborn, catheter-based procedures are a less risky choice than open heart surgery because they do not require the chest to be opened, leave no scars and allow the child to recover quickly, he said.
The hospital first performed the procedure on a 1,610g infant in November last year and has since successfully treated three other premature newborns, including the latest case.
In the other two cases, the patients were 1,900g and 1,600g when they underwent the procedures, the hospital said.