Rare surgery removes tumor unborn baby’s heart at Cleveland Clinic

Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 2:33 PM EST
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CLEVELAND (WEWS) - Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic were able to successfully remove a tumor from an unborn baby’s heart and it is only the second time in medical history the surgery has been performed.

Ryland Drinnon is now 5 months old.

“I have people tell me he’s definitely a miracle, that he’s a gift from God. And he’s meant to do something crazy in this world,” Ryland’s mom Samantha said.

But at 6 months, the odds were not in his favor.

“In April, we found out that Ryland had a cardiac teratoma, which is a tumor growing on his heart,” Samantha said.

His condition is one doctors don’t see often.

“They’re incredibly rare. Overall, they’re only like one in 40,000 births. And then to have it in this heart location is way less common,” Dr. Darrell Cass, Director of Fetal Surgery and Fetal Care Center Cleveland Clinic, said.

What’s even rarer is a successful removal of that tumor during a surgery in which Ryland had to be removed from his mom’s uterus.

After discussing and weighing the options, doctors and Samantha agreed to proceed with the four-hour surgery on May 7.

“Fortunately, both recovered beautifully,” Dr. Cass said.

“Some of the nurses that were in my room told me that they cried and they are still crying tears over it. Just because like, it was the craziest thing they’ve ever experienced too,” Samantha said.

After the tumor was removed, Ryland was put back in his mother’s womb for 10 weeks but then he decided to arrive early at 36 weeks and three days.

“One day he’s gonna ask like, what is this crazy scar on my chest and I’m gonna tell him that you went through something crazy,” Samantha said.

Ryland is healthy but Samantha says they still go back for blood work and to make sure his heart is working correctly.

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