NEW DELHI: Doctors at Delhi’s GB Pant Hospital recently removed a six-inch long roundworm from the liver of an 18-month-old infant. Roundworms are parasitic organisms, which get into the human body through ingestion of contaminated food and water.
Commonly, they are found in the intestine but this was a rare case in which the parasitic organism managed to travel to the liver via bile duct of the baby boy, doctors said. “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 added that in older children, above three years of age, roundworm has been found in liver previously.
The first case was reported in Brazil. There, Puri said, the doctors removed the parasite using a paediatric endoscope of 9mm in diameter from the liver of a one and-a-half-year-old patient. However, GB Pant did not have this equipment, so they had to use an adult endoscope, which is bigger in size.
“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 is a flexible tube with a camera attached to it.
During the procedure, which was conducted on Friday, doctors inserted it into the child’s food pipe via mouth. It went up to the small intestine. Then, an endoscopic knife was inserted into the bile duct, which had to be cut to extract 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 GB Pant doctors are happy at their feat— they successfully removed a roundworm from a small child’s organ using adult endoscope. And the parents look much relieved to see their son regain his health.
“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, told TOI. Doctors said roundworm infestation is common in urban slums where sanitation is not proper and children often consume contaminated 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. The worms, mostly found in intestine, affect a child’s ability to grow—both intellectually and physically—and develop into a fully functioning adult, capable of contributing to wider society, according to World Health Organisation.