Mariam with her father and a team of doctors after successful treated her life-threatening chest infection Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Doctors in the UAE have called on parents to take note of any chest problems a child is suffering from and have an early check-up to avoid complications.

They also warned that unnoticed chest infections in children may lead to severe life-threatening complications. The warning from a group of doctors with Zulekha Hospital Sharjah comes after a 16-month-old girl child was diagnosed with a life-threatening condition.

Parents of Mariam rushed her to Zulekha Hospital Sharjah from another hospital due to respiratory problems and fever that were not responding to treatment.

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After necessary investigations, the multi-specialty doctors including Dr Hassan Said Othman Badr, consultant paediatrics, Dr Khaldoon Abo Dakka, specialist thoracic surgery and Dr Ahmed Nabil, specialist paediatric surgeon teamed up to start the step-by-step treatment.

The child was diagnosed with septicemia, (blood infection with bacteria), necrotising pneumonia, which is a rare and severe complication of bacterial community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), further complicated with pneumothorax and bronchopleural fistula. Such conditions need urgent medical treatment.

Dr Hassan began treatment with wide spectrum antibiotics and oxygenation support with high flow in Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), and during this time he detected the life-threatening tension pneumothorax.

Emergency intervention

The team of doctors consulted each other and decided on the next immediate course of action, without wasting time. Dr Ahmed did the emergency insertion of chest tube to release the tension pneumothorax.

A pneumothorax occurs when air leaks into the space between the lung and chest wall. This air pushes on the outside of the lung and makes it collapse. A pneumothorax can be a complete lung collapse or a collapse of only a portion of the lung. When the air increases pressure in the chest, reducing the amount of blood returned to the heart, patient can get chest pain, shortness of breath, rapid breathing, and a racing heart, followed by shock in severe cases.

After seven days, once Mariam was stable with antibiotics, nebulisation and respiratory physiotherapy, the surgical team including Dr Khaldoon and Dr Ahmed did the definitive chest procedure of “VATS Total Decortication of the left lung with partial resection and repair of the necrotised lung tissue” in order to manage and treat the bronchopleural fistula. The surgery was done on day seven after the team of doctors made sure the infection was completely under control.

During treatment, the baby had an acute tubular necrosis (damage to the kidney) with renal impairment, which was also treated successfully.

The child took 14 days to recover, was stable and completely recovered at discharge. Parents of Mariam said they were thankful for the timely management and treatment of their daughter’s condition by the doctors at Zulekha Hospital Sharjah and expressed their heartfelt gratitude.