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Things took a turn for the worst for a family travelling from Patna to Delhi, when their 6-month-old baby succumbed to her heart condition. Rachita Kumari, a resident of Begusarai district in Bihar was travelling with her parents to Delhi in SpiceJet flight, where she was taken for treatment at All India Institute of Medical Sciences hospital.
The infant suffered from congenital heart disease and had a small hole in her heart, said the Deputy Commissioner of Police at IGI airport. Her father Rajendra Rajan and mother Dimple accompanied her on board the flight and they suspected no foul play.
The doctors on board attended the child. A SpiceJet spokesperson informed that an emergency landing was requested at the Delhi airport, due to the medical emergency and medical facilities were ready on arrival.
"Doctors on board attended the child. Priority landing was approved, aircraft landed safely and as requested medical facilities were made available on arrival", the spokesperson stated.
The infant was declared dead on arrival by the doctors.
The spokesperson also added that no prior information regarding the infant's medical condition was provided to the airline before the journey.
What Is Congenital Heart Disease?
Congenital heart diseases or defects are one of the most common forms of birth defects. In India, 8-12 out of 1000 newborns are born with the condition. In some cases, the defect can be minor - which goes undetected and can appear during adulthood  .
A congenital heart defect is a structural problem of the heart, which a baby is born with. It can be inherited or caused by other reasons such as viral infections in the mother, and medications used by the pregnant woman, as well habits such as smoking and drinking can also contribute towards the development of the condition.
Some of the common signs and symptoms of the condition are a heart murmur, bluish tint on the skin, shortness of breath, poor weight gain and poor feeding etc. The symptoms can vary in accordance to the severity of the condition.
In the current scenario, with the advent of various medical innovations and improvements, congenital heart diseases in babies can be treated or managed with the help of surgery, medicines or devices such as artificial valves, catheters, and pacemakers  .
Can Congenital Heart Disease Be Prevented?
In most cases, no, the condition is impossible to be prevented. However, a pregnant woman can take various steps to reduce the risk of developing congenital heart defects in the baby.
Congenital Heart Disease In India
Although there are various cardiac care centres established in recent times, reports suggest a paradox. The location of the cardiac care centres is a problem - that is, the centres are located in areas with a very low burden of congenital heart diseases  .
Aspects such as a lack of awareness and delay, maldistribution of resources and financial constraints pose a restriction, but reports point out that strategies for improvement of cardiac care are being implemented.
-  Saxena, A., Mehta, A., Sharma, M., Salhan, S., Kalaivani, M., Ramakrishnan, S., & Juneja, R. (2016). Birth prevalence of congenital heart disease: A cross-sectional observational study from North India.Annals of pediatric cardiology,9(3), 205.
-  Bhardwaj, R., Rai, S. K., Yadav, A. K., Lakhotia, S., Agrawal, D., Kumar, A., & Mohapatra, B. (2015). Epidemiology of Congenital Heart Disease in I ndia.Congenital heart disease,10(5), 437-446.