Baby given life-saving chill treatment after operation

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Indy Lifestyle Online

A specialist nurse described today how a baby was deliberately chilled for four days in a life-saving treatment after he suffered complications following heart surgery.

Finley Burton was 16-weeks-old when a hole in his heart and a narrowed aorta were repaired by cardiac surgeons.



The baby, from Easington Colliery, County Durham, then developed a rapid heart rhythm of around 200 beats per minute, which could have killed him.



So, while he was still sedated, he was cooled in a special blanket filled with chilled air for four days to allow his heart rate to slow down.



In the meantime, he was on an external pacemaker while his recovery continued.



Paddy Walsh, a specialist children's cardiac nurse at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle, where Finley was treated said: "Obviously, if babies were awake and conscious throughout they would be very uncomfortable, but they are kept very sedated so they are not fighting it and are asleep."



He was treated a month ago, and since then has made a "super" recovery Miss Walsh said.



The hole in his heart was causing his lungs to work too hard, making him breathless and too tired to eat properly.



The few calories he could take on were used up by the hard-work his lungs and heart were doing, the nurse said.



"When we close off the hole, babies start breathing at a lovely rate and they manage to feed beautifully," she said.



The baby's parents Donna Link-Emery and Aaron Burton were first concerned when he was 10 weeks old because he was not putting on weight.



Checks at the University Hospital of North Durham revealed the congenital heart condition and he underwent surgery at the Freeman Hospital two days later.



He is now said to be making very good progress at home and feeding well.



Having thought she would lose Finley, his 27-year-old mother told reporters: "We were told he may have to be in hospital for six weeks so we were stunned when they said he could leave so quickly.



"Now he's doing really well and has already put on lots of weight."



Well-wishers are raising money for Freeman Hospital's Children's Heart United Fund. To donate, visit http://www.justgiving.com/Donna-Link-Emery

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