The human heart is the most vital organ of all in the human body. It is said that an average human heart beats more than a 100,000 times a day pumping more than 7500 litres of blood through the whole body. The main function of the heart is to pump blood combined with oxygen throughout the body. Human survival is solely dependent on the maintenance and well-being of the heart.
What is Ebstein Anomaly?
Ebstein Anomaly is a rare heart disorder which is present at birth (congenital) in some people. In this defect, parts of the tricuspid valve that separate the right atrium (upper heart chamber) and the right ventricle (lower heart chamber) are abnormal. The upper heart chamber (right atrium) receives the blood coming from the body while the lower heart chamber (right ventricle) pumps blood into the lungs. The flaps (or leaflets) of the tricuspid valve are normally placed on the upper side of the blood pumping chamber of the heart separating the atrium and ventricle with the larger part occupied by the ventricle. While in a patient suffering from Ebstein Anomaly, the leaflets are displaced way below. This disorder is usually followed by atrial septal defect (a hole in the wall between the left and the right atrium).
Treatment for Ebstein Anomaly
The treatment for Ebstein anomaly is dependent on the severity of the child’s condition. If the child is encountering mild symptoms such as abnormal heart rate or abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia), then the condition can be tackled using only medication. Fluid build-up that causes congestive heart failure can also be dealt with medications.
Surgery may be suggested depending on the specificity of the condition of the child’s disorder. Children facing irregular heartbeats or arrhythmias that cannot be dealt with medication may have to undergo surgery for the treatment of these disorders. If the Ebstein anomaly is very severe in the newborn then a surgery and a treatment plan is required to deal with it. Such a form of approach is usually done in cases of children with single ventricle cardiac anomalies.
There are several different procedures that can be used to treat Ebstein anomaly and its related defects, some of those are
- Bidirectional Glenn Procedure: This surgical procedure is used for achieving temporary improvement of cardiac functions in patients suffering from structural heart diseases such as single ventricle
- Maze Procedure: This procedure is used for the treatment of fast heart rhythms. The surgeon will make small incisions, either normally or by using cryotherapy or radiofrequency, to create a maze pattern of scar tissue. As the scar tissue is not an electrical conductor, it will interfere with irregular electrical impulses that cause fast rhythms
- Cone Procedure: The excessive tissue on the right side of the heart are used by folding them up making a malformed valve which is then surgically reshaped like a cone which opens and closes
- Tricuspid Valve Repair: This surgery is usually considered when there is enough valve tissue for repair. The surgery usually consists of size reduction of the opening of the valve to allow the flaps to come together and work properly. Sometimes a band is placed for the stabilization of the repair. In some cases, a further repair of the valve or a valve replacement may also be required
- Tricuspid Valve Replacement: If the present valve cannot be repaired, then it will be removed and replaced by either a mechanical valve or a biological (bioprosthetic) valve. Mechanical valves are generally not used as a lifelong dependency on blood-thinning medications will be required
- Atrial Septal Defect Closure: If there exists a hole between the atriums, or the upper chambers of the heart (atrial septal defect), the surgeon will close the hole during surgery to replace or repair the defective valve. There is also a possibility that the surgeon may repair other heart defects that were present at the time of surgery to replace or repair the tricuspid valve
- Radiofrequency Catheter Ablation: This procedure is conducted when the patient has fast or abnormal heart rhythms. In this surgery, catheters are threaded to through the blood vessels to the heart. The catheter tips contain electrodes that use radiofrequency energy to ablate (damage) small part of the heart tissue creating an electric block along the pathway that cause the arrhythmia (supraventricular tachycardia). Repeat procedures may be needed in some cases
- Heart Transplant: If the child has a severe case of Ebstein anomaly and the heart function is very poor, heart transplant may be the only answer left
Risks involved in Ebstein Anomaly treatment
Ebstein anomaly is one of the heart defects that appears early in a child’s heart as it’s a congenital heart disorder. The certainty of the risk factors that are involved in causing this defect is not particularly known, though it is speculated that the causes may be dependent on environmental and genetic factors. A child may have higher chances of having Ebstein anomaly if there is a family history of heart defects. Exposure of the mother to a certain type of medications, such as lithium, may also have influence on the chances of the child receiving Ebstein anomaly.
Like every other type of surgery, treatments for Ebstein anomaly also bring with them a plethora of complications. As the surgery has the inclusion of general anaesthesia, typical allergies to the anaesthesia or cardiovascular issues related to its administration is a common sight along with a lingering possibility of heart attack. Infection of the operated area and improper healing are also some of the risks. Pain after the surgery may also be seen but they can be tackled using medications.
Why choose India to have this treatment?
India is gaining fame in the world for being the best place to receive any form of medical treatment. The country has the best surgeries available with the most advanced of technologies that are on par (if not better) with that of the most developed of the nations. The surgeons in India are also highly qualified and performed multiple complex surgeries in countries like UK, Canada, Netherlands, Germany, USA, Switzerland and many more. All the best surgeries with the most modern methods and equipment are available in India for just a fraction of the price that is imposed in western countries. The medical procedures in India are sometimes as low as 40% of the actual cost that are taken in the countries with comparable advanced technology.
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