Baby with rare lung condition defies odds and survives

A newborn baby girl who was born with a rare and life-threatening lung condition has amazed doctors and her parents by surviving and recovering. Khloe McInally, from Wishaw, Scotland, was diagnosed with Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN) hours after her birth on March 7, 2023. This meant that her lungs were filled with fluid and she could not breathe on her own. She was transferred to the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow, where she was put on life support and given a slim chance of survival.

A miracle baby

Khloe’s parents, Laura and Kevin, had been trying to conceive for years and had suffered four miscarriages before Khloe was born. They described her as their “miracle baby” and were overjoyed when she passed all the initial checks and seemed healthy and alert. However, their joy turned into fear when Khloe started vomiting blood and was rushed to intensive care. Laura, 33, said: “We were in such disbelief, trying to get your head around what the doctors were telling you, because there’s a lot of medical jargon. It was such a surreal experience, watching your wee baby lying there on a ventilator completely sedated, hooked up to all sorts of monitors.”

A rare and serious condition

PPHN is a rare condition that affects about two in every 1,000 births. It occurs when the baby’s circulation does not adapt to breathing outside the womb, and the blood flow to the lungs is restricted. This causes a lack of oxygen in the blood and can lead to organ damage or death. The cause of PPHN is not always known, but it can be associated with infections, birth defects, or stress during delivery. Dr Neil Patel, a neonatologist at the Royal Hospital for Children, said: “It relies on a baby’s lungs starting to work for the first time, and their blood flow getting up to their lungs to pick up oxygen, and their heart pumping that blood throughout the body. Most babies do that perfectly well, but there are a number of babies who for a variety of reasons don’t make that change as well as they should. It can be a really serious condition, and can be life threatening in the most severe cases.”

Baby with rare lung condition

A remarkable recovery

Khloe spent the first week of her life sedated and on life support, while doctors tried to stabilize her condition and reduce the pressure in her lungs. She was given a drug called nitric oxide, which helps to relax the blood vessels and improve oxygenation. She also received antibiotics, steroids, and blood transfusions. She gradually improved and was able to breathe on her own after 10 days. She was then moved to a less intensive ward, where she continued to gain strength and weight. She was finally discharged from the hospital on April 2, after 26 days of intensive care. Laura said: “She’s just a wee fighter, she’s amazing. She’s defied all the odds and she’s proved everyone wrong. She’s our little miracle.”

A grateful family

Laura and Kevin are now enjoying being at home with Khloe and their six-year-old daughter Kara, who is delighted to have a baby sister. They are grateful to the medical staff who saved Khloe’s life and supported them through the ordeal. They also want to raise awareness of PPHN and the challenges that families face when their babies are born with the condition. Laura said: “We want to thank everyone who helped us, from the doctors and nurses to the cleaners and the porters. They were all amazing and they made such a difference. We also want to let other parents know that there is hope and that miracles do happen.”

By Ishan Crawford

Prior to the position, Ishan was senior vice president, strategy & development for Cumbernauld-media Company since April 2013. He joined the Company in 2004 and has served in several corporate developments, business development and strategic planning roles for three chief executives. During that time, he helped transform the Company from a traditional U.S. media conglomerate into a global digital subscription service, unified by the journalism and brand of Cumbernauld-media.

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