Afghan couple loses two kids; doctors manage to rescue the third

NEW DELHI: Mohammad Ali Eshan and Farishta — an Afghan couple — had not yet recovered from the sudden and inexplicable deaths of two of their children when their surviving son, only 14 months old, suffered a cardiac arrest. Though doctors saved the child, the chances of another arrest remained. Now, thanks to the efforts of doctors here in India who successfully managed to implant a cardio-verter defribillator (ICD) in the child, the family looks to the future with hope.According to doctors, the child’s heart rhythm was very fast and apart from the implant, there was no other way of ensuring permanent relief for the child, Mohammad Mushtaba. ‘‘He suffered a cardiac arrest two weeks ago and his family history showed that a three-year-old son and another two-year-old daughter of the same couple had died sudden and inexplicable deaths. So, prolonged medications were not a reliable option. His heartbeat was very fast which had led to the cardiac arrest, so even the use of a pacemaker would not have solved the problem. Which is why we finally decided to implant the cardio-verter defibrillator, which is usually used in patients who are 10 years or older,” said Dr Anil Saxena, specialist in cardiac pacing and electrophysiology at the Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre in Delhi. This is perhaps the first time that the machine has been implanted in a patient as young as 14 months. As against the common procedure in which the ICD is implanted in the chest, doctors implanted the instrument in Mushtaba’s abdomen. Doctors said that the machine will constantly monitor his heart rhythm.‘‘When Mushtaba suffered a cardiac arrest recently, we were shattered. Though doctors back home managed to revive him, the fear of losing him like our other two children had us very worried. Doctors here have given us a reason to smile again,” said Mohammad Ali Eshan, the child’s father, who is himself a surgeon at a Kabul hospital.

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