Baby with rare heart condition beats all odds

2013-09-06 00:00

WHEN Siphosakhe Zondi was born in Pietermaritzburg on March 19, doctors discovered that only half her heart was fully developed. If doctors had not picked it up at her birth, she would not be alive today.

Now five months old, Siphosakhe is on a long road to recovery, and is going strong. She was born with a rare congenital condition called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a condition that leads to poor blood circulation and heart failure. Monica Zondi, Siphosakhe’s mother, decided she would do whatever it took to ensure her baby’s survival.

“I had a normal pregnancy. Everything was fine. I went for my check-ups with the gynaecologist, but it was not picked up. When she was born she couldn’t breathe normally and was rushed into ICU. I didn’t even get a chance to hold her,” said Zondi.

Paediatrician Dr Raksha Takoordeen was called in to assess baby Siphosakhe, who she said appeared to have been in “respiratory distress”.

“Siphosakhe required immediate respiratory support and a few hours after birth, a cardiac murmur was detected. An echocardiogram immediately confirmed this. It’s amazing that Siphosakhe had made it thus far as the condition, if left undetected and untreated, leads to death within the first 24 hours of the child’s life,” she said.

Baby Siphosakhe was then rushed to Sunninghill hospital in Johannesburg by helicopter. Two days after her Caesarean and still in pain, Zondi had to check herself out of hospital and drive with her husband to Johannesburg where her baby was.

“I was devastated when my baby was airlifted to Johannesburg, as I was uncertain whether [she] would survive … In Joburg the doctor told us that this was one of the worst cases of hypoplastic left heart syndrome and her chances are very slim.”

Takoordeen adds: “She has done well since her initial operation and is growing into a bubbly little baby beyond all expectations.”

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