By Dr. Maitri Chaudhuri
Sometimes a newborn baby gets too much bluish from heart defects. Usually oxygen level of blood is low as there is hardly any blood supply to lungs. Common conditions are Tetralogy of Fallot, Pulmonary Atresia, Tricuspid Atresia etc.
Then a temporary surgery called BT Shunt (Blalock- Taussig Shunt) is done quickly. It is a Goretex Tube/ PTFE Tube placed between the subclavian artery and lung artery. This tube carries unobstructed continuous flow to lungs and baby’s oxygen levels improve.
A Blalock-Taussig Shunt or “BT Shunt” is used to help increase blood flow to the lungs in babies born with defects that obstruct blood flow to the lungs. The surgery entails opening the chest either through a left or a right thoracotomy approach and placing a Gore-Tex tube form the innominate artery to the pulmonary artery. This is a palliative procedure, meaning that in most cases the final repair will be done at a later date.
Precautions after BT Shunt
- A medicine called Aspirin is given to prevent clot formation inside the shunt
- Aspirin dose is 3-5mg/kg. So, dose is as per the baby’s weight
- Don’t miss even a single dose of Aspirin without doctor’s advise
- Baby should not get dehydration( lack of water in body)
- If baby gets diarrhea, vomiting, excessive sweating replace the lost fluid by ORS or visit your pediatrician
- If baby gets sudden breathing problem or turns too blue, BT shunt is getting obstructed. Rush to the cardiologist
- Every 3 months visit your cardiologist and get an echo done.
- Remember BT Shunt is Temporary. It does not grow with your child.
- Within 6 months to one year, child will need total correction