Three more children have had life-saving surgery today in Dili as Operation GoodHearts continues.
The aim of each surgery is to close the ductus arteriousus, a foetal blood vessel. Normally this closes shortly after birth, however in a Patent Ductus Arteriousus (PDA) the blood vessel does not close and remains open, which results in ongoing transmission of blood between the aorta and the pulmonary artery.
Symptoms may include shortness of breath, poor growth compared to siblings or expectations and a heart rate which exceeds the normal resting rate, making it difficult to get by in everyday life.
This week’s surgeries involve a safe and simple procedure which involves making a small cut on the left side of the chest to find the extra tube and then tie it or close it off. Recovery time is normally a few days.
For children such as Nelsia who are affected by a PDA, having the surgery means being able to go on and live a happy and healthy life.
Nelsia’s father Nelson reflected after her surgery took place.
“I have happiness in my heart. I feel very happy. We’re just so grateful to East Timor Hearts Fund because we couldn’t go to Australia so to have them come here…I feel so grateful,” he said.
According to Surgical Mission Leader Dr. Andrew Cochrane, Nelsia has excellent prospects for recovery.
“She had only a small to modest sized PDA and was otherwise fairly healthy and well. Everything’s gone well, she’s looking good,” he said.