WATCH: World's smallest baby to undergo heart surgery had the odds stacked against him – and he survived

17 May 2017

Doctors had to use special miniaturised surgical equipment for the complicated procedure.

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A baby boy born weighing just 0.47 kg has become the world's smallest infant to have undergone a successful heart surgery.

The yet-to-be-named baby was born prematurely at 28 weeks at a government-run hospital in Udaipur in the western Indian state of Rajasthan.

He was too fragile to be touched.

His eyes had not opened, lungs were not developed and skin resembled parchment paper.

But after two weeks, a team of doctors from Geetanjali Medical College and Hospital and Jeevanta Hospital in a "milestone" surgery conducted Patent Ductus Arteriosus-a corrective operation after he developed breathing problems.

They found the tiny baby was suffering from a condition in which two major blood vessels of the heart, the aorta and pulmonary artery, were connected.

"Normally the connection between the arteries remains till the fetus is in mother's womb," chief neonatologist and paediatric intensivist Dr Sunil Jangid said.

"It automatically disconnects after childbirth. If it doesn't, it has to be treated with medicines. In this case, when the infant didn't respond to medicines, heart surgery was the last option."

Doctors said it was an uphill battle to perform the surgery on a baby, which required special miniature surgical equipment to be used.

"The baby weighed merely 470 g at birth and was just the size of a palm. Operating on an infant, especially when he is so tiny, is very challenging and risky as the body parts are extremely premature," said Dr Jangid.

Dr Sanjay Gandhi, another doctor involved in the miracle surgery, said there were many risks involved such as respiratory distress syndrome, brain/lungs internal bleeding, feeding intolerance, developmental problems.

It was the baby's low weight that prompted the doctors to operate in NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) as shifting him from one hospital to another and then to an operation theatre could be life-threatening.

Despite the odds stacked against him, the tot survived -- and his parents couldn't be more grateful.

The baby was born to SP Jain and his wife, both residents of Udaipur, through IVF.

"He is so brave that he has survived so many odds with such low weight. Our prayers have been answered," the emotional father said.

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