Saturday, 14 February 2015

Corneal transplant for severe vitamin A deficiency due to hepatitis A



Yaramala Varakumari was a happy 4 year old until she had Hepatitis A, a highly contagious liver infection contracted from contaminated food or water. There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A and recovery is slow. During convalescence, children are prone to nutritional deficiencies that deplete the Vitamin A stored in the liver. 

Little Vara showed these symptoms - her stomach had bloated, her legs showed muscle wasting and she could no longer go to school or walk around and play outside the hut. Her hearing diminished and her black eyes changed colour to a crimson red. Soon the parts inside her right eye came out through the gaping hole where the cornea had melted. The vitamin A deficiency was triggered on receiving inadequate medical care for her hepatitis A that had resulted in onset of acute Keratomalacia (corneal melting) and its disastrous sequelae. 

When the local doctor in Guntur could not help, her parents rushed her to LVPEI in Hyderabad.

Dr Muralidhar Ramappa, a specialist in pediatric corneal diseases, took utmost care to replenish the child's Vitamin A reserves before performing a corneal transplantation on her left eye. With vision restored in her left eye. Vara is independent again after nearly 2 years. She can now move about in her hut and can easily go out to the toilet even after dark. Her mother Mariamma is much relieved, hugging and kissing her precious daughter, and not at all mindful about borrowing money and foregoing her daily wages as farm labour to travel 7 times from Mallavollu village to Hyderabad. She is very grateful for the free of cost treatment her daughter receives at LVPEI.

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