Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Little battler Lewis smiles better after major surgery saves his life

Baby Lewis Greenaway with his mum Julie
Baby Lewis Greenaway with his mum Julie

Thankfully, Lewis has not had any post-surgery problems and is doing all the things that any five-month-old baby can do

A mother has spoken of her pride at her miracle baby who is thriving after undergoing two major heart operations in the first five months of his life.

Baby Lewis Greenaway was diagnosed with a rare cardiac condition when mum Julie went for her 20-week scan to Craigavon Area Hospital.

The tot was treated by two complex operations at Birmingham Children's Hospital, the first when he was just four days old after being airlifted to the Midlands from the Jubilee in Belfast.

A third operation will be required when he is five - and he may have to face a heart transplant during his teens.

Five-month-old Lewis, from Loughgall in Co Armagh, was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, which means that only one half of his heart had developed, leaving the other half to do all the work.

Had it been undetected, he would probably have died within the first week of his birth. Julie and husband Stephen had little choice but to agree to the complex surgery.

Lewis was born on October 22 at the Jubilee after his development in the womb was carefully monitored with a scan every two weeks.

His mother was given pre-operative drugs to help the flow of blood to the unborn baby, and 48 hours after he was born Lewis was in an air ambulance taking him to the paediatric cardiology ward to Birmingham.

The complex surgery - known as the Korwood Procedure - was to re-plumb Lewis's heart so that the right side does all the work.

The first stage of three procedures, the operation was a complex five-hour one to extensively re-construct the aorta, and plucky Lewis pulled through.

Ten days later he was home in Loughgall. Then, at the beginning of March, he returned for a second operation - longer but less risky - the aim of which was to redirect the flow of blow to his lungs. Again, it was a complete success.

Said Julie: "Thankfully Lewis has not had any post-surgery problems and is doing all the things that any five-month-old baby can do."

And they are optimistic that the third operation will be a success. This will take place when he is five and due to go to primary school. It will separate the blue blood supply from the red blood supply.

However, the operations will not correct Lewis's heart problems, but should give him the required quality of life until his early teens, at which stage a heart transplant may be necessary.

His parents, though, are very positive and optimistic about the future.

Said Julie: "Years ago, a lot of babies wouldn't even have had this surgery, so who knows what developments there will be within the next 10 years.

"The main thing is that he has come through these operations and is thriving. We just want to enjoy him. We are thankful that we have such a special son."

As a result of their experiences, the Lewis family members have become organ donors and appealed to the public in general to carry the donor card.

And they thank everyone - from their GP in Portadown to the hospitals at Craigavon, the Jubilee and Birmingham - for saving the life of their precious baby.

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