• The tumor was detected during the mother's ultrasound at 20 weeks of gestation
  • Right after being born, the baby had trouble breathing
  • The tumor was attached to the surface of the heart 

A newborn baby with a rare heart tumor underwent a lifesaving surgery in India, media reports said Tuesday.

Doctor's at a hospital in the city of Delhi said the tumor was attached to the surface of the heart. The infant was diagnosed with a rare congenital tumor called "intrapericardial teratoma," which is mostly benign, but can lead to life-threatening complications such as cardiac tamponade in newborns. The hospital said the tumor was detected during a routine ultrasound of his mother at 20 weeks of gestation, local media outlet The Times of India reported.

After the tumor was found, the doctors monitored it regularly every week by the means of fetus echocardiogram as it had the potential of impacting the fetus growth within the womb.

Right after being born, the baby had trouble breathing. He was immediately intubated and put on a ventilator. Tests showed a 7 cm across, lobulated giant intrapericardial tumor that was pushing the heart to the left causing pressure to the lungs, doctors said.

"The baby's condition was precarious, and we planned to operate on him immediately. On day two after birth, we successfully removed the tumor, which was larger than the heart and was found to be attached to the surface of the heart, displacing the heart to the left. It had an attachment to the aorta and the right AV groove," Dr Rajesh Sharma, a senior pediatric cardiac surgeon at the Apollo Hospital, said, The Times of India reported.

“The heart has a surrounding membrane called the pericardium. This tumor was within the pericardium and was attached to the aorta. We had to be very careful while operating on the two-day-old baby and see no surrounding organs and tissues were damaged,” he added. It took doctors nearly two hours to remove the tumor.

A major concern with such tumors during pregnancy is the life-threatening pressure that it puts on the fetus' heart and lungs.

"Fortunately there have been no significant deleterious effects of the tumor on the functioning of lungs or heart. Though the removal of the tumor is supposed to be curative in most cases, due to the rarity of the diagnosis, the baby will need regular follow-ups with tumor marker levels and regular echocardiographic examinations in the future. For now, the baby has shown good recovery and has been discharged," Ashutosh Marwah, Consultant Surgeon, Pediatric Cardiology, was quoted as saying by IANS, Daiji World reported.

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