Baby with half a heart survives through nine hour high risk surgery at only 4 days old

In the most miraculous of circumstances a baby born with half a heart has survived a high risk operation performed on him at just 4 days old. Little Reggie Aslin born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome is now back home and well although he may have to keep returning to the hospital for subsequent surgeries when older.

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Doctors felt the baby had only a 50% chance of survival, yet the little champ pulled through much to the delight of his astonished and thankful parents.

1 Hypoplastic left heart syndrome

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome is a rare birth defect where the left ventricle of the heart does not develop. The valve between the left ventricle and left atrium remains closed or is too small for smooth blood flow. According to the Great Ormond Street Hospital and the British Heart Foundation. Those suffering from the condition are usually diagnosed at birth. The condition is incurable but with successful surgery, children can manage to have their life expectancy prolonged till their teens. The survival rate of three surgeries is just 60%.

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In such a situation the heart is ineffective in pumping blood throughout the body. Babies born with the condition may look healthy but develop severe breathing difficulties soon after. Reggie Aslin was one such baby who was made to undergo a nine hour surgery to rectify the condition and help his heart start pumping normally again.

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome

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2 Reggie was given a 50% chance of survival

Lee and Michelle Aslin both 35 and 34 respectively had been trying six years to conceive. They were overjoyed at the fact they would be conceiving a baby but were devastated soon after when Reggie’s 20 week scan showed him suffering from hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

The baby would be born with half a heart and doctors gave Reggie a 50% chance of survival and revealed to his parents that he would need three major surgical procedures performed on his heart the first one soon after being born and subsequent ones later on in life. It was doubtful he would survive past his teens. Lee and Michelle did not allow the news to intimidate them into having an abortion. Reggie was born on the 1st of September this year and weighed 9lbs 12 oz.

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Lee with the kid holding in hand

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3 The nine hour high risk Norwood operation

Reggie underwent the major surgical procedure to ‘re-plumb- his heart. The nine hour operation left a huge scar right down his front from chest to stomach. It was only this week that Reggie was allowed to return home with his parents who lived in Grimsby Lincolnshire.

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Reggie underwent a complex and risky operation called the Norwood procedure. It involved a three step surgery which helps the right side of the heart to take on the additional job of the left. It ‘rewires’ the right ventricle enabling it to pump red blood to the body. Blue blood then flows directly to the lungs. In Reggie’s case the first operation involved the highest risk and is extremely dangerous because of the complex process.

high risk Norwood operation

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4 It will be a happy Christmas for the family when Reggie goes home

It was hard to tell if the parents were ever going to be allowed to take their little boy home. They had no idea if he would survive the operation but this little baby born with half a heart finally did. For both parents, the fact that the little fighter survived was no less a miracle. ‘We are just so excited and are looking forward to spending his first Christmas with him at home.’

The family is now concentrating on the future in hopes that medical progress may reveal new procedures to improve Reggie’s chances of survival. But for now the family including Reggie’s 13 year old elder sister Katelyn are thankful they have Reggie in their lives and for the moment it will be a happy Christmas this year.

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Smiling baby

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