Baby first in world to receive life-saving in-utero heart surgery

A baby in Canada is believed to be the first to receive life-saving heart surgery while still in the womb - five days before birth.

Two months on, little Sebastian is reportedly in excellent health, at his Toronto home with mum Kristine Barry and dad Christopher Havill.

At her 20-week prenatal scan, the expectant mother received the diagnosis her unborn baby had a severe congenital heart defect, where the two main arteries were reversed.

Baby Sebastian is believed to be the first to receive life-saving heart surgery while still in the womb. Picture: Facebook

"We had a baby with the two sides of the circulation that were not communicating,” Dr Greg Ryan told CBC news in Canada.

“There was no opening between the upper chambers and the lower chambers and the vessels were coming off the wrong side."

Sebastian’s condition was made extra tricky because the interior walls of his heart were sealed shut, according to surgeons at Mount Sinai Hospital.

The unborn baby had a severe congenital heart defect, where the two main arteries were reversed. Picture: Facebook

This meant blood would not have been able to flow between the chambers to pick up oxygen, once he lost access to the oxygen supplied via the placenta. So the newborn would not have had time to be operated on after birth – which left doctors no choice but to operate before Sebastian left the womb.

A needle was used to insert a balloon into Ms Barry's uterus and through Sebastian's heart, creating a tiny hole to open the interior wall of Sebastian’s heart. This allowed oxygenated blood to pass through.

The surgery was over after just 20 minutes, and the room erupted in applause, according to The Star.

Ms Barry said she cried tears of joy when she was told she would be able to deliver her baby normally.

The newborn would not have had time to be operated on after birth – which left doctors no choice but to operate before Sebastian left the womb. Pictures: Facebook

Sebastian was born five days later on May 22, without the harrowing race for time to get him to the operating table.

Open-heart-surgery was still needed after birth to correct Sebastian's original heart defect, however there was no race against time. The baby was born pink and with oxygen in his lungs – to the relief of his parents.

"They always prepped us for a blue baby," Ms Barry said. "They always said that he was going to be blue and not vocal because of the lack of oxygen."

Two months on, little Sebastian is reportedly in excellent health, at his Toronto home with mum Kristine Barry and dad Christopher Havill. Picture: Facbeook

The relieved mum described her baby’s first scream as "the most amazing sound I've ever heard."

Baby Sebastian was sent home a week later and is reportedly recovering well.

“[The doctors] want us to let him be a kid and run around and get his blood pumping and his heart working really well,” Ms Barry told The Star.

“They don’t want us bubble-wrapping him and being too protective. They want him to live a normal life as much as possible.”