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Mumbai: Newborn develops ‘leaky lung’, survives life-saving procedure an hour after birth

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Mumbai: A newborn suffering from respiratory distress — a condition which had pushed her heart and oesophagus (food pipe) to the right side — underwent a life-saving procedure barely an hour after her birth and survived. Shortly after she was born, the baby was diagnosed with ‘spontaneous pneumothorax’, a rare pulmonary disease, in which air is collected between the lungs and the chest wall because of a leak in the lungs.

Dr Amey Kakirde, neonatologist at SRV Mamata Hospital, Dombivli, said the baby was delivered naturally, in May. But within an hour of birth, she was detected with ‘pneumothorax’, due to which her normal respiratory rate was more than 50 breaths per minute and was immediately shifted to neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). “We felt something was wrong with the baby. An X-ray revealed the left lung was collapsed, due to which she was having trouble breathing and her blood pressure was decreasing,” Dr Kakirde said.

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“Because of the disorder, the baby’s heart and oesophagus were shifted to the right side, for which she had to undergo a life-saving procedure after an hour of a birth that helped remove the air and shift back the organs automatically to the right position with time.” A senior doctor said one or two per cent of newborns may develop this disorder without any symptoms, or babies with lung disorders such as respiratory distress syndrome or meconium aspiration syndrome, who are treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).


“We had placed an emergency intercostal drainage (ICD) tube on the right side of the chest, to remove air from the chest cavity. X-rays over three days showed the ICD in position and functioning well,” said Dr Kakirde. As the procedure helped suck out the accumulated air, gradually the heart and oesophagus moved back to their positions. “So, when we cleared the air, the pressure that had caused organs to shift to the right eased and they gradually moved back to their normal positions,” he added.