EMERGENCY surgery was carried out on a premature baby at Elche’s General Hospital.
The infant was born with a heart defect at 24 weeks and weighed just 700 grams. With the baby girl’s weight increasing to 800 grams, surgery was deemed possible but she was still too fragile to travel, so a specialist team of two cardiac surgeons and a surgical nurse travelled from Valencia’s Hospital, La Fe, to carry out the operation in the neonatal unit of the intensive care unit itself.
José Pastor, Chief of Paediatrics at Elche’s hospital, said surgery to close a conduit between the pulmonary artery and aorta had gone well but the next few days were vital to her recovery.
Currently, most children with heart diseases are referred to the La Fe where there is a full paediatric cardiac surgery team in place. The hospital carries out around 25 of the same operations as the baby girl had in Elche on premature babies throughout the year. Congenital heart defects affect one in every thousand live births in Spain.
Last year, the Valencia hospital carried out 850 heart operations a year; 650 on adults and 200 on children.