Critically ill baby girl had her heart stapled to her ribs in cutting edge surgery which saved her life
A toddler has had her heart stapled to her ribs in cutting edge surgery to stop her organs moving around her body.
Poorly Gabriella Stearne was born without a left lung and had to be watched constantly for signs her heart had moved out of place.
Medics at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) performed the life-saving operation to secure her heart to her rib cage and fit her with a prosthetic lung.
It’s now hoped the 15-month-old will be able to live an active life, although she will have to have operations every six months as she grows.
Full-time mum Amie Jarvis, 27, said: “Even five years ago they wouldn’t have been able to do what they have done for her.
“It’s because all the things she has are rare by themselves but together they’re unheard of.
“I don’t want to say she has been a bit of a guinea pig but she has because of all the different things that she has had done.
“It’s amazing what the doctors and nurses have done and we’re forever indebted to them.”
Amie and dad Tom Stearne, 29, learned the youngster would be born with defects five months into the pregnancy after a scan showed abnormalities.
Gabriella was born on May 8, 2015, and found to have genetic conditions Scimitar Syndrome and Tetralogy Of Fallot.
Both these rare heart conditions severely affect the heart’s ability to function and their terrible affects are more than doubled when combined.
Being born without a lung also severely impeded her and also allowed her other organs to move about in her body.
To stay alive, Gabriella had to be constantly ventilated by a tracheotomy after also being diagnosed with bronchomalacia.
This is caused by weak cartilage in the walls of the bronchial tubes which means they need to be supported to stay open.
This is done by a tube being inserted through her throat and into her lungs.
Originally doctors believed Gabriella could be supported from her home in Wisbech, Cambs.
But by September last year the tot’s health deteriorated when at four-months-old, Gabriella began having seizures which stopped her breathing.
She was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, where medics decided the only option was to perform the series of operations to save her life.
She was immediately transferred to GOSH for cutting-edge treatment.
Amie said: “A specialist team from Great Ormond Street came and put her in an induced coma and took her back to the London hospital.
“She was in Cardiac Intensive Care Unit where she has had numerous operations.
“She had her heart repaired and stapled to her chest bones so it doesn’t move about.
“She has also had a prosthetic lung inserted. This is to support her as she grows and to stop her other organs moving around.”
Since being in Great Ormond Street since last September Gabriella has steadily progressed, thanks to the cutting-edge treatment.
Her condition has improved enough that on Monday she returned to her family home she shares with her two older sisters, Alexis, eight and Imogen, three.
Her father Tom, a lorry driver, said: “It is lovely. After a year in Great Ormond Street it is brilliant to be finally going home.”
Unfortunately the family’s problems don’t end there and they’re desperately trying to raise £5,000 to buy a people carrier needed to transport Gabriella around with all her medical equipment.
To donate visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/Gabriellasfund