Abu Dhabi: Born healthy and thriving, it was still six weeks before Baby Nasra was able to drink milk to her fill.
A minimally invasive procedure at Tawam Hospital helped remove the obstruction or atresia in her small intestine, to the relief of her parents.
“I have raised six other children, and have never encountered this condition before. It is very distressing to see a newborn baby crying even after a feeding, and to have her throwing up again and again. I am so grateful that it has finally been resolved, and am happy to see my daughter finally growing well,” Mohammad Al Muhairi, Nasra’s father, 60, told Gulf News.
The Emirati security professional said his baby daughter had been born without any difficulty. But she had soon started vomiting after feeds, to the concern of her parents.
“Her yellow-and-green vomit worried us a lot, and we had even tried introducing formula to help her out. But it did not help, so we rushed her to the doctor about a week later,” Al Muhairi said.
A series of tests and x-rays then revealed an obstruction in the first part of her small intestine, known as the duodenum.
“Nasra was born with Type 1 atresia, a congenital condition that is known to affect one in every 5,000 newborns. As a result of the narrowing, very little of the milk was being absorbed, and she was suffering from persistent vomiting,” said Dr Moustafa Hamchou, consultant paediatric surgeon at Tawam.
When her parents first brought her to the Emergency unit, she had to be resuscitated because she was dehydrated and starving. After she was stabilised, her care team decided upon a laparoscopic approach to resolve her atresia.
“This is typically done using a large transverse incision and the bowel is explored to remove blockages. But this is a major surgery, so we decided to pursue a minimally-invasive approach. We inserted a camera and instruments through three holes, then corrected the narrowing in her intestine. Essentially, it was the same classic surgery that involved a longitudinal cut of the intestine, followed by a transverse stitch, but the pain and recovery time was significantly lower,” Dr Hamchou explained.
Nasra recovered quickly from the procedure and was discharged within two days. Today, she is a healthy four-month-old and loves playing with her four older sisters at home. Al Muhairi said she is also particularly interested in the bright sounds and colours around her.
“My daughter is already babbling and playing and I am so relieved that she is completely all right now. It was very distressing for my wife and me to see our newborn daughter crying all night long, and I am glad that a minimally invasive surgery helped resolve her condition,” the father said.
Dr Hamchou added that such minimally invasive procedures, though not always widely available for newborns, can provide an easier treatment approach even for newborns.