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Unborn Baby Undergoes Heart Surgery in Womb After Doctors Detect Tumor


Samantha Custer didn’t know how to react when she found out that her unborn was going to need heart surgery.

She was 25 weeks pregnant, nearly two months before her due date, when doctors told her the unborn child needed surgery to live. The Custers were terrified because the pregnancy had gone so well up until that point.

Dr. Darrell Cass, Director of the clinic’s Fetal Surgery and Fetal Care Center, explained to Newsroom, “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.”

Cass stated that the Custers needed to act quickly in order to save their son. “We felt that if we were going to do anything, the best treatment would be to try open fetal resection of this tumor,” Cass said. Days later, he was preparing Mrs. Custer for surgery with the assistance of his team.

Dr. Hani Najm, Chair of Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery at the clinic, one of the surgeons who assisted in Mrs. Custer’s surgery, said, “I was able to examine and get into a very nice plane of dissection, as we call it in surgical terms, and I was able to literally enucleate the entire tumor and remove it.”

“It was amazing once the tumor was removed; basically, the left atrium in the heart opened up and you could see blood flow change,” Dr. Cass added.

Baby Rylan was soon placed back in the uterus, only to be delivered via c-section 10 weeks later.

According to reports, the Custer family is doing well and is grateful to the doctors who made their son’s birth possible.

“It was the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced,” Mrs. Custer said, while her husband, overjoyed by Rylan’s arrival, simply stated, “He’s a little miracle.”


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