Doctors at Delhi’s GB Pant hospital recently performed a rare operation on an 18-month-old infant, removing a 6-inch-long roundworm from the liver of the child. Roundworms are parasites that enter the human body through contaminated food and water.
Doctors said that roundworms are usually found in intestines but in this case, the roundworm had managed to enter the liver through the bile duct of the infant. “This is perhaps the second such case in the world," Dr A S Puri, professor and head of gastroenterology department of the hospital, said. He further added that earlier round worms had been found in livers of children above three years of age.
The first such case had occurred in Brazil. Dr Puri said that there the roundworm had been removed from the liver of a one and half year-old patient using a paediatric endoscope of diameter of 9 mm. However, in the case of GB Pant hospital, an adult endoscope which is much bigger in size had to be used as a paediatric endoscope was not available.
"We took a chance because if the child wasn't operated upon in time, he could have died. Thankfully, the procedure was uneventful," the doctors said. The endoscope has a camera attached to the end of a flexible tube.
During the surgery, the doctors inserted the endoscope into the child’s food pipe through the mouth. When it reached the small intestine, an endoscopic knife was then put into the bile duct, which had to be cut to take out the roundworm.
"The whole procedure took us 20 minutes. But we had to do a lot of brainstorming before making this attempt. The food pipe is next to windpipe and any complication could have proven fatal," said one of surgeons. The surgeons at the G B Pant hospital are pleased at the successful surgery. It was not an easy surgery and they had removed a round worm form an infant’s organ using an adult’s endoscope. The parents too are very y happy to see their child’s heath being restored.
"For the past one and a half months, Dawood had been in pain and crying incessantly. He used to pass worms in stool and vomit. We took him to local doctors, but medicines failed to bring him any respite since a roundworm had reached his liver," Farheen, the infant's mother. The doctors said that urban slums were infested with roundworm parasite due to unhygienic and unsanitary conditions. The children often consume infected food and water.
"The government has been conducting de-worming programme but many children still have the problem. To prevent this, we need to improve hand hygiene and create awareness about importance of eating freshly-cooked food," said a doctor. According to the World Health Organization, the roundworm affects a child’s ability to grow both physically and mentally and compromise his ability to develop as fully functioning adult contributing to the society.