Miracle heart op baby will be home for Christmas

COMING HOME Baby Daisie Downie and inset with her mum Deliah.   Pictures: Solent News and Photo Agency
COMING HOME Baby Daisie Downie and inset with her mum Deliah. Pictures: Solent News and Photo Agency
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MIRACLE newborn Daisie Downie has beaten the odds to make it home for her first Christmas.

Her family are celebrating after tiny Daisie became the smallest baby to have a pioneering open-heart surgery procedure to save her life.

COMING HOME Baby Daisie Downie with her mum Deliah.   Pictures: Solent News and Photo Agency

COMING HOME Baby Daisie Downie with her mum Deliah. Pictures: Solent News and Photo Agency

Daisie needed the life-saving op when she was born six weeks early with a rare condition that meant there was no blood going to her lungs directly from her heart.

Weighing just 5lbs 2oz she was far too small for surgeons to operate and a team of medics began a battle to keep her alive.

The longer she had a chance to grow, the better her chance of surviving corrective surgery which would normally be performed on a six to nine-month-old.

But aged just three weeks her condition became critical and they could delay no longer.

She became the smallest baby to have a revolutionary procedure to repair a hole in her heart and a blocked valve during six hours on the operating table.

The team at Southampton General Hospital are delighted by their groundbreaking feat.

And Daisie’s mum Deliah Downie, 34, of Chesterton Place, Whiteley, is overjoyed her miracle baby is doing so well she made it home in time for Christmas.

Deliah said: ‘Daisie is my own Christmas miracle. She was so tiny and so critically ill there were times when I feared she would never make it.

‘To have her home for a family Christmas and for her to be doing so well is the only present I could have wished for.’

Deliah and her store manager husband Kev, 38, from Whiteley, first learnt there was a problem with their baby’s heart at a 20-week scan.

The couple, who have two sons – George, six, and Harrison, three, – were told the baby had a hole in her heart and a narrowing of the arteries.

Medics planned that when she reached 6lbs 6oz, she could have a shunt to open up her artery.

But at three weeks the medication keeping her alive stopped working and they decided they had to operate immediately to save her life despite the fact she was still only 5lbs 3oz.

After six hours in surgery, surgeon Markku Kaarne told Deliah he had managed to fully repair her heart by fixing her valve and closing the hole in a single operation.

‘I couldn’t believe they had done it,’ said Deliah.

‘They had been telling me she was far too small for this surgery but they managed it.’

Consultant cardiologist Dr Kevin Roman said: ‘Daisie had a complicated cardiological problem when she was born.

‘She had a pulmonary valve which was blocked and had a large hole between the two pumping chambers of the heart.

‘There was no way for the blood to get to the lungs.

‘She is the smallest baby we have ever had for this type of repair in the heart.

‘The vast majority of children who have this operation are six to nine months old and consequently much bigger.

‘Even a baby twice her size would have been very sick in intensive care afterwards.

‘In a tiny premature baby, things were much more difficult. It was a great team effort and we’re all delighted she made it home in time for Christmas.’