34-yr-old Nigerian survives years with a heart defect, finally gets surgery in India

Apr 19, 2014, 09:00 IST | Anuradha Varanasi

The Nigerian national had been suffering from tetralogy of fallot, which is usually treated by the age of 7, was diagnosed after he recently started experiencing breathlessness

In a rare case of congenital heart defect, a 34-year-old man suffering from tetralogy of fallot one of the most common heart defects had survived all these years without undergoing any surgery.

In March, Adeyemo Babajide and his wife came to India and they found out that he was suffering from the heart defect
In March, Adeyemo Babajide and his wife came to India and they found out that he was suffering from the heart defect

Adeyemo Babajide, a Nigerian national, had been living with the condition for decades, which should ideally be treated by the age of seven.

While Babajide’s condition had been ignored all these years, about eight months ago he started experiencing symptoms like breathlessness and uneasiness, even when he walked for a few minutes.

As none of the doctors in Nigeria could diagnose his condition, he and his wife decided to come to India and in March, they found out that he was suffering from the heart defect.

“We are quite baffled how he survived all these years with this condition. Usually a child suffering from tetralogy of fallot has to undergo a major open-heart surgery in order to survive.

In his case, he managed to live all these years and it was only when his health started to deteriorate was when he found out about this condition,” said Dr Mahesh Singh, cardio vascular thoracic surgeon and consultant at Kohinoor hospital in Kurla, where the patient underwent the treatment.

During his diagnosis, it was found that over the years, there was seepage in the heart with an overgrowth of muscles. “Since it was left undiagnosed and untreated, we had to replace his pulmonary valve to prevent oxygen-rich blood from mixing with oxygen-poor blood,” added Dr Singh.

The patient, who works as a civil servant back home, had to be kept under observation for almost a month after his operation. He and his wife have recently returned home and doctors claim that his condition is stable and he will be able to lead a normal life once he recuperates from the surgery.

Dr Manglesh Nimbalkar, paediatric fetal cardiologist and consultant, Seven Hills Hospital, said, “The incidence rate of congenital defect is six to eight in every 1,000 births. Usually, we treat infants at the age of one, however, due to lack of medical infrastructure, we have also operated on patients between 15-30 years of age.

The oldest patient that I have treated for tetralogy of fallot was 37 years old. Patients manage to survive this long as their lungs are protected by the pulmonary artery blockage. Around 25 per cent of patients who are referred from civic-run hospital are above 15 years of age.”

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Congenital heart defects diagnosed in infants in India

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