Repairing Tiny Hearts

November 29, 2011
School of Medicine, Kochi

The Pediatric Cardiac Team at Amrita achieved yet another milestone when four children from Kurdistan region of Iraq underwent surgical correction of birth defects in their hearts.

Nwha Jalal, Liya Mohammed Qadir, Sana Sarkhel Hamza and Mohammed Obed Amin were all referred to the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences for a comprehensive pediatric cardiac evaluation and definitive treatment by a local cardiologist in Iraq.

Four Children

“These children had various types of birth defects of the heart; three of the children were blue babies,” explained Dr. Balu Vaidyanathan, Professor at the Department of Pediatric Cardiology.

Blue babies are born with cyanosis i.e. a bluish discoloration of the skin due to congenital heart or pulmonary defects. This is a life-threatening condition unless surgically treated.

Dr. Balu elaborated on the four cases.

Defects of the Heart“Among these cases, the most complex case was that of 9-month-old baby, Mohammed Obed Amin. The baby was extremely blue and had a complex form of transposition of great arteries with ventricular septal defect; this is a serious heart condition. The baby underwent a complex arterial switch operation and is now recovering well.”

“The 3-year-old Sana Sarkhel Hamza was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot, a common type of heart defect resulting in cyanosis. She underwent a complete correction by open heart surgery.”

“Liya Mohammed Qadir, a 1-year-old child with a large ventricular septal defect underwent a palliative procedure, pulmonary artery banding, at a local hospital in Iraq. At Amrita, Liya underwent total correction whereby the band was removed and the defect was closed.”

“Another child, Nwha Jalal Ahmed, had total anomalous pulmonary venous connection. This is a birth defect in which complete surgical repair is essential. Nwha underwent complete repair successfully.”

“Drs. Sunil G. S. and Benedict Raj led the surgeries. All four kids are now doing well.”

The Pediatric Cardiac Unit at the Amrita School of Medicine has performed over 7500 open heart surgeries during past twelve years it has been in existence. Many catheter-based procedures have been undertaken for children born with heart defects.


The Unit has gained a solid reputation and has now become the destination of choice for many international patients from Maldives, Africa and the Middle East; outreach programs in many of these places educate and inform.

“We hope that these latest successes will pave the way for more international collaborations that can help provide high-quality pediatric cardiac care for patients from the developing world,” summed up Dr. Balu.

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