Smallest baby in the UK who received pioneering life support treatment celebrates her first birthday

The smallest baby in the UK to receive a pioneering life support treatment has celebrated her first birthday thanks to medics.

Reva Malvankar was nine weeks old when she became critically ill with a respiratory infection after she was born prematurely at 30 weeks.

She spent six days in intensive care at St George’s Hospital in Tooting but her condition continued to deteriorate.

In a last effort to save her life doctors at St George’s contacted the Evelina Children’s Hospital in Waterloo – and its specialist Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) team.

The treatment temporarily replaces the work of the lungs or heart in patients with severe lung or heart failure, allowing their organs to heal.

It continuously takes blood from the body, adds oxygen, removes carbon dioxide and then returns it to the body.

Due to her very small weight Reva received a special type of ECMO for the lungs, where blood is taken from one part of the body and returned to another.

The procedure had never been attempted on a baby as small as Reva before in the UK.

The standard procedure, where blood is taken from and returned to the same site, is designed for bigger babies and adults and has a higher risk of serious complications in smaller babies.

Reva weighed just 4Ib 10oz (2.1kg) at the time, making her the smallest baby in the UK to receive ECMO for the lungs.

Reva’s mother, Parnika Bhor, 42, said: “The team at Evelina London explained that Reva would need a special type of ECMO because of her small weight and that it was her only option left.

It was extremely distressing seeing her tiny body hooked up to such a big machine.

“After 10 days on ECMO her condition started to improve.

“Gradually the team reduced the amount of support her lungs were getting from the machine.

It was a very special moment when she eventually came off ECMO. Reva wouldn’t be alive today without it.

I’m eternally grateful to Evelina London for the care she received.”

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