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Story of Mythili Manikam

16 year old Mythili Manikam is the second daughter of Devi and Shanmugam from Namakkal in Tamil Nadu. Mythili has an elder sister who is 20 years old and a younger sister who is 12 years old. Mythili has completed her 11th standard and will be going to 12th standard as and when the school reopens after the Covid-19 lockdown.

About three months back, Mythili had fever with shortness of breath. She was shown at the district hospital where medicines were given. Within a week, her fever subsided. But she continued to have shortness of breath and there seemed to be no improvement in that. Moreover, she started facing pain in her knees while walking. As time passed, her problems kept increasing.

Her parents took her to a private physician who recommended blood tests. Mythili was detected with Rheumatic Heart Disease. Rheumatic Heart Disease is due to bacterial throat infection. The bacteria travels from the throat and enters the chambers of the heart affecting the heart valves. Mythili was started on penicillin prophylaxis. She was kept on a close follow up. During the last follow up, the doctor observed that Mythili’s breathing problem continued. He explained to the parents that Mythili needs to be hospitalised and referred them to GKNM Hospital in Coimbatore.

Due to the prevailing COVID-19 lockdown, there was no public transport. Shanmugam reached out to the treating physician who arranged an ambulance for them free of cost. Mythili and her parents left Namakkal. The eldest and the younger sister stayed back, being looked after by their relatives. The distance of 150 kilometres was covered in 3 hours.

On reaching the hospital, Myhtili was admitted and an Echo was done. She had severe leakage in 3 valves: Mitral, Aortic and Tricuspid. The leakage had led to severe heart failure. She required urgent open heart surgery.

Since Shanmugam is a farm labourer with a monthly income of Rs 4500, it was beyond his means to arrange the entire money for the surgery. He reached out to his relatives and friends for help and managed to raise Rs 39,546 for the surgery. But since that was not enough, help was sought from us. With aid from WPP India CSR Foundation, Mythili’s surgery was supported.

The initial plan was to repair the Aortic, Mitral and the Tricuspid Heart Valves. But upon opening the heart, it was found that Mythili’s Mitral Valve was significantly damaged, thus it had to be replaced by a mechanical valve. Her Aortic Valve was recreated using the Pericardium Tissue by Ozaki method and the Tricuspid Valve was repaired.

Mythili’s surgery is one of a kind surgery since it has been performed for the first time in India where two valves were repaired simultaneously.

The post-operative period was uneventful and Mythili was discharged in a stable condition. The charity cell of the hospital provided free food and stay to the parents. They also provided a free ambulance for their return journey. Mythili is keen to become a nurse in the future.