Cardiac surgery brings smiles to baby from Nauru
- Release Date: 5/09/2011
- For media enquiries please contact 07 3163 1524 or the afterhours on call media officer on 07 3163 8111.
Surgeons at Mater Children’s Hospital have given a baby from Nauru, the world’s smallest island country, a chance at a longer life through cardiac surgery.
Seven-month-old Jesu `Smith’ Agege’s heart condition was picked up by a medical specialist visiting from Sydney.
The doctor diagnosed a large perimembranous ventricular septal defect—a large hole between the two main pumping chambers of the heart.
“He was pale and always out of breath and crying.” grandfather Ramos Agege said.
Smith’s mother, Jacora, was told he needed to be flown to Australia for urgent medical treatment.
“I prayed every night for God to give us assistance in any way he could.” Mr Agege said.
That assistance came in the form of Rotary Oceania Medical Aid for Children (ROMAC) who flew baby Smith, Miss Agege and Mr Agege to Brisbane so he could undergo treatment at Mater Children’s Hospital.
Mater Director of Paediatric Cardiology Dr Rob Justo said Smith exhibited symptoms including fast breathing and poor feeding which led to limited growth and weight gain.
“If left untreated these children can sustain permanent damage to cardiac function it can significantly shorten their lifespan. He would have grown up to be an adult but not into old age.” Dr Justo said.
Surgeons performed cardiopulmonary bypass surgery and closed the ventricular septal defect.
“The procedure was uncomplicated and he has made an outstanding recovery. He now has an excellent prognosis with a normal expected lifespan and no long term cardiac issues.” Dr Justo said.
Smith is one of 37 children brought to hospitals in Australia and New Zealand by ROMAC in the past 12 months.