Rare procedure performed on miracle baby

There have only been about 30 Nikaidoh Procedures done wo-rldwide, says Dr Sriram Shankar.

He is a consultant cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon in private practice, and a visiting consultant at the National University Hospital (NUH).

It is Dr Shankar's team who gave Belle Tay a new shot at life.

Belle was born with a combination of congenital heart disorders - transposition of the great arteries (TGA), pulmonary stenosis, and ventricular septal defect.

TGA, where the two major arteries from the heart switch places during development in the womb, affects three to five babies in 10,000 births.

Though it was Dr Shankar's first time performing the surgery in his almost 20 years of practice, his team of doctors felt that it was the best option for her, he tells The New Paper on Sunday.

He led a team of six specialists who operated on her at NUH.

According to the Health Ministry, 22 babies here had TGA in 2009, 15 in 2010 and 10 in 2011.

It is even rarer for babies to have TGA with pulmonary artery stenosis, says Dr Winn Maung Maung Aye, an assistant professor and consultant cardiothoracic surgeon at NUH, who was part of the team that treated Belle.

Dr Shankar says Belle has a long road ahead and a lot of growing up to catch up on.

"Hopefully she grows. She had been blue for the longest time and it has affected her development.

"We have to wait and see. She should be able to lead a fairly active life."