Success Stories

Rare heart surgery for boy from Iraq at Mumbai

Born as a blue baby, Hussain Kadam suffered from transposition of the great artery (TGA) and a ventricular septal defect, commonly known as a hole in the heart. This seven-year-old boy from Iraq underwent a successful open-heart surgery at the Asian Heart Institute (AHI), Mumbai, India.

According to doctors, 95% of babies born with this disease die if not operated within six months of birth, but Hussain survived without going under the scalpel for seven years. Such a case is found in five of 20,000 babies born all over the world. Due to the disease, Hussain’s limbs were extremely weak and he was unable to walk. He weighed only 12kg — weight loss being another major hazard of the disease.

After several doctors refused to operate on Hussain, his parents flew to Mumbai to seek advice from paediatric cardiologist Dr Abdul Rasheed from AHI. “When they came to me with the medical reports, I realised that none of the other doctors had diagnosed the disease properly,” said Rasheed who operated on Hussain in a four-hour surgery on May 12. “They could only identify the hole in the heart and the high pressure in his lungs, but his case was more complicated than that.”

Rasheed explained: “Normally, the aorta, which is the largest artery, arises from the left chamber of the heart and supplies oxygenated blood to the entire body. The pulmonary artery arises from the right chamber of the heart and carries deoxygenated blood to the lungs.In TGA, the arteries are reversed — the aorta arises from right and the pulmonary artery arises from the left. Due to this, the entire body gets impure blood and the patients turn blue.”


Rasheed said Hussain’s oxygen level was extremely low before the surgery. “While the normal oxygen level is 94% and above, his level was barely in the 30’s,” said Rasheed, adding, that the child has attained the normal levels now.

Hussain’s father Kadam Musa, who works as a driver in Iraq, said he had consulted a doctor in Jordan when Hussain was two years old. “He refused to operate on my son,” said Musa. “The doctors also refused to remove Hussain’s kidney stone due to low oxygen levels.”The stone was removed as well at AHI, Rasheed said.