Dell Children’s team saved a tiny infant with a risky heart surgery

A team at Dell Children's Medical Center operates on Le'Lani Bryant, who was born at 27 weeks and then had heart surgery at 8 days old on arteries that were reversed and pumped backward.

Jasmine Matthews remembers that ultrasound when she was four months pregnant.

“They keep scanning (the baby’s) heart,” she said, but the doctors were having trouble making a definitive diagnosis.

A follow-up ultrasound showed that the arteries in the baby’s heart were in the wrong position, a condition known as transposition of the great arteries.

Without surgery, the condition is “almost uniformly fatal,” said Dr. Charles Fraser Jr., head of the Texas Center for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease, a joint program of Austin’s Dell Children’s Medical Center and UT Health Austin, the clinical practice of Dell Medical School at the University of Texas.

In this condition, the arteries are reversed and pump backward, causing the baby not to get enough oxygenated blood, he said.