Posted on Thu, Nov. 23, 2006
Naseem Hasni, born on Halloween with his heart outside his chest, is now a Thanksgiving miracle, his doctors and family say.
Michelle Hasni of Cutler Ridge delivered Naseem with a rare defect that caused his heart to protrude from the chest wall. On Wednesday, Hasni and her doctors at University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center were pleased with the infant's rapid recovery after a six-hour corrective surgery.
''I am very thankful that I found the doctors that I found, and I thank God every day,'' she said at a news conference.
Naseem was born Oct. 31 with a congenital birth defect called ectopia cordis, meaning a sternum and other bones and tissues that encase the heart are absent, causing the organ to develop on the outside of the body.
The defect is seen in less than eight in one million babies. Most are stillborn or die shortly after corrective surgery.
Eliot Rosenkranz, the cardiothoracic surgeon who operated the same day 9-pound, 2-ounce Naseem was born, said the main goal was to cover the heart.
Doctors were optimistic about the surgery because the newborn's heart was functioning properly -- if not in the right place.
''The first challenge is to get the heart back into the chest, make room for the heart and loosen attachments,'' Rosenkranz said Wednesday.
Hasni, the mother of two other healthy children, said her instinct told her something was wrong when she felt the baby hiccuping constantly in the womb.
A September ultrasound revealed the defect, allowing Rosenkranz and high-risk obstetrician Salih Yasin to schedule a cesarean-section delivery and plan for baby Naseem's surgery.
But Rosenkranz said the baby ``decided he wanted to participate in Halloween, so he came out a bit early.''
A regular birth carried too high a risk, Rosenkranz said.
''The next challenge for him is getting him off the breathing machine,'' Rosenkranz said. ``Without a sternum, it's hard to breathe.''
MORE WORK AHEAD
Naseem's heart is covered only by a breathable membrane-like fabric called Gore-Tex and his own skin. Soon he will be fitted for a plastic chest cover to protect the heart. As his condition improves, doctors will plan another surgery on the infant to create an artificial casing of his heart using bone borrowed from his ribs.
Now listed in critical but stable condition at Holtz Children's Hospital at University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center, Naseem is expected to lead a normal life as long as he refrains from any activity that might affect the delicate chest area.
Hasni, who described the past few months as ''nerve-racking,'' is thankful and hopeful.
Maybe by the holidays in December, baby Naseem will return home.
Watch the ultrasound video at MiamiHerald.com.