UHealth Surgeons Perform Lifesaving Heart Surgery on Newborn Still Attached to Mother’s Placenta

The family of a 4-month-old infant took their baby home from Holtz Children’s Hospital at Jackson Memorial after UHealth – University of Miami Health System surgeons performed a life-saving surgery while the baby was still attached to her mother’s placenta. Doctors removed a tumor that was covering the heart of Symphony Melody Edgecomb and crushing her lungs — all before completing a cesarean section to deliver the baby. The surgery was the first to be performed in Florida on a premature baby with this type of tumor.

At 29 weeks, Nicole Hannah, Symphony’s mother, was transferred to Holtz, where she began receiving care from Salih Yasin, M.D., UHealth obstetrician/gynecologist at Jackson Memorial Hospital, who specializes in high-risk pregnancies and the delivery of multiple babies.

On February 23, doctors performed a cesarean section and delivered Symphony Melody Edgecomb, a four-pound, four-ounce baby girl. Immediately following the delivery, in the same operating room, Eliot Rosenkranz, M.D., UHealth pediatric cardiac surgeon, and his team performed an Ex Utero Intrapartum Treatment (EXIT) procedure, in which they opened the baby’s chest while she was still attached to the mother’s placenta.

“We did something called the EXIT procedure, which means in summary that we delivered the baby half way and treatment of the baby starts while the baby is still attached to the placenta,” said Ramzi Younis, M.D., a pediatric otolaryngologist.

The placenta provided the baby with oxygenated blood from her mother, while doctors removed fluid around the baby’s heart and the teratoma, or tumor, covering the heart, and immediately placed a breathing tube in her trachea to help her breathe. The tumor was crushing both of her lungs, which would have made survival outside the womb impossible.

“We opened the chest, evacuated the fluid that was around the heart, and then we were faced with an enormous tumor that was wrapping itself around the heart and the lungs and all of the main structures in the middle of the chest,” said Rosenkranz.

Immediately after the two-hour surgery, Symphony was moved to the pediatric intensive care unit. After one week there, she was transferred to the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, where she has received care for the past four months.

“Every day is a miracle. I’m just amazed at her progress,” said Symphony’s father, Steve Edgecomb. “She’s come a long way. I’m so grateful to the doctors and nurses.”

Nicole Hannah also expressed her gratitude for the life-saving surgery and care.

“Never in a million years would I have thought that they could operate on her while still attached to me and that my body could keep her alive,” she said.

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