Baby Undergoes Life-Saving Heart Surgery While Still in Womb


Doctors at Fetal Surgery and Fetal Care Center at Cleveland Clinic recently performed a miracle heart surgery on an unborn child.

25 weeks into their pregnancy, Samantha Custer and her husband Dave found out their unborn son had a mass on his heart and would need life-saving surgery.

“What we saw was a very large tumor, and this tumor was sitting exactly in the wrong area, where it was squishing the left side of the heart,” explained Darrell Cass, MD, Director of the Fetal Surgery and Fetal Care Center at Cleveland Clinic according to the clinic's newsroom.

Dr. Cass said given the seriousness of the condition, they needed to act fast.

“We felt probably the best treatment, if we were going to do anything, would be to try open fetal resection of this tumor,” he said.

Dr. Cass along with a team of surgeons quickly formulated a plan, and a few days later they were prepping the mother for surgery.

Hani Najm, MD, Chair of Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery at Cleveland Clinic was able to literally enucleate the entire tumor and remove it.

Dr Cass said, “Once the tumor was off, it was amazing. Basically, the left atrium in the heart opened up and you could see blood flow change.”

Rylan was then carefully placed back in the uterus. 

Samantha gave birth to Rylan via C-section ten weeks later.

The family is now home and baby Rylan is doing well!


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