Doctors at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute perform life-saving surgery on a 35-week pre-term baby; implant permanent pacemaker within 12 hours of birth

New Delhi,: Doctors at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute displayed their commitment to patient-centric care and skills in clinical excellence during the current pandemic by immediately responding to an emergency case of a pre-term baby born with a complete congenital heart block. At the time of birth, baby Bhavishya’s heart was beating 40 times a minute as compared to 140-160 times a minute of a healthy newborn. The birth of the baby took place in another hospital in New Delhi and as the health of the baby started deteriorating, the father was advised to take the baby to a pediatric cardiac centre. The father contacted Dr Gaurav Kumar, Director, Pediatric Cardiac Surgery at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute. Under the guidance of Dr Gaurav Kumar and Dr Sushil Azad, Principal Consultant Pediatric Cardiology, arrangements were made for this critically ill baby to be shifted to FEHI. After thorough evaluation and stabilization of the baby by team of doctors at FEHI, he was taken up for permanent pacemaker implant at midnight.


Complete congenital heart block is a rare condition occurring in 1 in 20000 births. Such cases are challenging because these babies are commonly born preterm with low birth weight, their heart invariably functions poorly, and they have a poor chance of survival if emergency intervention is not done. In such babies, all procedures including anesthesia and surgery pose a very high risk.


Dr Gaurav Kumar, Director Pediatric Cardiac Surgery said, “It was late evening when we received a call from another hospital regarding baby Bhavishya. We knew that the baby was in real danger and made immediate arrangements for safe transfer of the baby to Fortis Escorts Heart institute. On arrival, the baby was found to have very poor heart and lung function. The case was technically challenging as the baby was pre – term and low birth weight and operating upon a newborn always involves a lot of associated risks. We decided to go ahead with the surgery at night itself because it was unlikely the baby would have survived till morning.


Father of Bhavishya, Mr Pravin Kumar, Assistant Sub Inspector, CRPF said,” I am very grateful to the staff of Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, especially Dr Gaurav Kumar and Dr Sushil Azad, who looked after my baby with great care, while his mother was admitted in another hospital. The world was crashing down on us when we first heard about our baby’s health. Without any delay, they suggested us to move the baby to FEHI and it was the right decision that we made. I would really like to appreciate the efforts put in by the whole team at FEHI and ensured a safe and healthy environment amidst the pandemic”.


Dr Sushil Azad, Principal, Consultant, Paediatric Cardiology said, “Operating upon a pre-term baby suffering from a complete congenital heart block involves a lot of risk related to maintaining complete care of other vital organs and protecting these babies from infection especially during this covid pandemic. This surgery was only possible due to multidisciplinary approach adopted by our team and we are happy to see how the baby has responded post the surgery”.