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Newborn girl at 3lb 5oz is smallest baby to undergo open-heart surgery in UK

August 23, 2011 - London

A baby girl who was born prematurely weighing just 3lb 5oz with a serious heart condition that left her struggling to breathe, has become the smallest baby to undergo Open Heart Surgery in Britain.

Tiny Eleana Hastings arrived six weeks prematurely with a missing valve, a hole between two chambers of her heart and dilated pulmonary arteries.

Her parents, both 36, discovered something was wrong during a routine scan just 22 weeks into the Pregnancy.

"I was told that I would have to have a weekly scan to check on her progress and, more worryingly, look for signs of cardiac failure," the Daily Mail quoted Mother Francesca, from Coventry, as saying.

But weeks later as the couple struggled to cope with the news Francesca went into premature labour.

Eleana arrived on January 13, and was put on a ventilator because her inflamed arteries were compressing her airways. Her tiny body struggled to maintain oxygen levels, and surgery was the only option.

After nine days in intensive care, she was transferred to Birmingham Children's Hospital for a four-hour procedure to close the hole in her heart and reconstruct her lung arteries. A second operation followed after ten weeks.

While Eleana still needs a pneumatic stent to allow her to breathe, her parents are looking forward to taking her home to join siblings Jamie, 11, Imogen, eight, and Alfie, two.


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