Heart-stopping: Kochi docs perform rare cancer surgery

In a rare heart surgery, doctors in Kerala successfully removed a cancerous tumour from the heart of a two-year-old boy. The procedure involved actually stopping the heart for as long as 40 minutes.

The surgery was performed using deep hypothermic circulatory arrest (DHCA), a surgical technique that involves reduction of body temperature to 15 degrees Celcius

The tumour was detected when Aadhi Febeer's parents recently took him to a hospital in Dubai after he developed fever. He was then flown to Kochi as the hospital in Dubai didn't have the facility to perform such complicated surgery.

Doctors had to stop Aadhi's heartbeats and brain activity for 40 minutes during the surgery that lasted for 9 hours to remove the 'intracardiac yolk sac germ cell tumour' developed both outside and inside the heart.

 ''It's a rarest of rare case,'' Dr M K Moosa Kunhi, head of department, cardiac surgery and heart transplantation, VPS Lakeshore, who led the 30-member team that operated on the boy, said.

''The yolk sac tissue, which develops on the third day of pregnancy, is usually dissolved within one month. But in this case, the tissue developed into a cancerous tumour,'' Kunhi said.

Dr Kunhi added the boy was brought to the hospital in a very critical stage as 95 per cent of the blood circulation was blocked by the tumour, which had affected the right two chambers of his heart.

According to Dr Kunhi, who has performed 16,000 heart surgeries with a 99.6 per cent success rate, the surgery was the fifth such surgery successfully carried out in the world.

Dr Kunhi said the boy, who was operated on Eid day, is now doing fine, adding that he requires chemotherapy course in the future.