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Newborn baby girl who is missing part of her heart will have just 50pc chance of survival

PUBLISHED: 19:00 27 March 2018 | UPDATED: 19:00 27 March 2018

Nicola Campbell is six months pregnant. Her baby will be born with only half a heart.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Nicola Campbell is six months pregnant. Her baby will be born with only half a heart. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

A baby girl who is not yet born will have just a 50pc chance of survival after doctors discovered a part of her heart was missing.

Nicola Campbell with her partner Dave Rippingale at home. Nicola's unborn baby will be born with only half a heart.
Picture: Nick ButcherNicola Campbell with her partner Dave Rippingale at home. Nicola's unborn baby will be born with only half a heart. Picture: Nick Butcher

Little Mayzie Rippingale, who is due to be born in June, will face the daunting prospect of three major operations before she turns three years old - with the first planned for while she is still a newborn.

And medics predict Mayzie, who will be Dave Rippingale and Nicola Campbell’s first child together, will only have a 50pc chance of survival since they discovered the rare condition where one of the lower chambers of the heart had not developed correctly.

The first Miss Campbell, 33, and 36-year-old Mr Rippingale, knew of the problem was after their 20-week scan when they were sent to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London for a sonogram of little Mayzie’s heart, which revealed she had a functionally univentricular heart.

Dr David Booth, a consultant neonatologist at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said: “Functionally univentricular heart is the term used to describe a number of heart problems present at birth where the pumping chambers haven’t formed properly into two separate chambers.

Nicola Campbell with her partner Dave Rippingale at home. Nicola's unborn baby will be born with only half a heart.
Picture: Nick ButcherNicola Campbell with her partner Dave Rippingale at home. Nicola's unborn baby will be born with only half a heart. Picture: Nick Butcher

“It is a very serious and rare cardiac abnormality and when we discover babies with this problem we work in partnership with the cardiologists at Great Ormond Street Hospital to ensure that the most appropriate care is delivered to the baby and the family.”

Miss Campbell, who works at B&M in Beccles, said: “Basically everything is back to front and one of the ventricles - the one that lets the oxygen into the heart - is missing.”

But the diagnosis came as a shock to the couple, who live in Woodton near Bungay, as there was no prior indication anything was wrong.

“When I had my first ever scan there was a strong heartbeat, they never had a problem finding it and neither did we on the doppler,” Miss Campbell added.

Nicola Campbell with her partner Dave Rippingale at home. Nicola's unborn baby will be born with only half a heart.
Picture: Nick ButcherNicola Campbell with her partner Dave Rippingale at home. Nicola's unborn baby will be born with only half a heart. Picture: Nick Butcher

“When they told me I just broke down.”

Coach driver Mr Rippingale, who has two other children from previous relationships, said: “The first operation would be to turn everything around and when that is would depend on how she is when she’s born, it could be within days or up to three months.”

But Mayzie would face two further procedures to reconstruct her heart. But even though there was a risk, her parents said they never considered terminating the pregnancy.

Miss Campbell said: “She’s from a fighting family. I fought meningitis when I was 18 months old and my mum fought cancer. We’re trying to stay positive and we’re hearing of a lot of positive stories.”

Mr Rippingale said if his daughter’s kicking in the womb was anything to go by, he expected her to be strong.

Once she’s born, Mayzie will be rushed straight to intensive care, and only then will doctors be able to tell the full extent of the problem.

Miss Campbell said: “Like any parents we just want her to live and long and healthy life.”


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