PETALING JAYA: B. Nisanthiny was only 18 months old when she was diagnosed with a complex cyanotic heart disease.
Doctors at the University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) deemed her inoperable then as she was presented late to the hospital.
Now 22, her condition worsened sometime in February, to the point that she could not even manage a short walk around her neighbourhood.
Nisanthiny was helping her mother, a factory worker, with some housework when she suddenly felt dizzy and breathless.
An echocardiogram test at the UMMC confirmed that the interatrial communication in her heart was “very narrow” and she had only one functioning heart pump.
Doctors said she urgently needed to undergo a procedure to save her life.
“The doctor asked me if we had money for the procedure and I told him that we didn’t.
“But he said don’t worry, the hospital will help,” said her mother A. Amutha, 54, whose husband K. Batumalay, 53, works as a security guard.
Their single-storey house at Kampung Baru Sungai Rasau, Puchong, is shared by three families, or 14 members in total.
UMMC quickly reached out to Star Foundation, the charitable arm of Star Media Group, for financial aid on Feb 21.
“Without the procedure, she would likely survive only a few months, not more than a year,” said consultant paediatric cardiologist and UMMC Paediatric Cardiology Unit head Dr Ang Hak Lee.
But with it, she would be able to survive for up to 40 years or more, provided there are no complications, he said.
On March 16, doctors successfully performed an atrioseptostomy procedure on Nisanthiny.
Paediatric cardiologists opened a wider interatrial communication by transcatheter method and maintained it using an atrial flow regulator (AFR).
With the approval of the Health Ministry for a compassionate use, it marked the first time that the device was used in Malaysia.
Star Foundation covered the whole expense of the procedure, all of which cost close to RM20,500.
Nisanthiny, who now finds it easier to go about her daily routine, said she is happy to be recovering at home, surrounded by her family.
“My interest is in baking cakes and I also like to sew,” said the shy SPM school leaver when asked about her future plans.
Her aunt P. Pathma Devi, 45, said the whole family was very grateful that their “Nisha” is now better, and credited Star Foundation for the help.
Star Foundation is a charitable arm of Star Media Group aimed at raising, receiving and administering funds for various causes.
Star Foundation Medical Fund Programme looks out for those needing urgent medical care, especially when it comes with a hefty cost.
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