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Medical Super Glue Saves Baby With Holes in Brain

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Medical Super Glue Saves Life, Plugs Holes In Babys Brain

A toddler with a very rare condition has undergone a pioneering operation in which medical super glue was used to repair her damaged brain.

The British toddler, Ella-Grace Honeyman, was born with Vein of Galen Malformation, a condition that causes small holes in the brain’s main blood vessels. The condition is so rare, that no treatment is available in Britain, her parents had to raise over $150,000 for pioneering surgery in America.

Ella was given months to live after blood seeped through the openings and flooded her skull cavity, causing a potentially-fatal aneurysm.

To “plug” the holes in Ella’s brain, surgeons inserted a remote-controlled tube loaded with organic super glue in through her groin, passed the stomach and heart and into the base of her brain. Sterile bursts of glue where then shot through the tube into the holes in the artery and capillaries.

The organic substance formed a watertight ‘plug’ and sealed each hole, allowing the fluid in her skull to drain – and removing the aneurysm.

mother laura with baby ella grace Medical Super Glue Saves Baby With Holes in Brain

“The operation is so dangerous that one wrong move, such as the glue being fired at the wrong time, and there would have been fatal consequences,” said Ella-Grace’s father Ryan.

Ella’s ordeal began when she started suffering from repeated headaches. She was to endure several months of suffering before doctors finally found an aneurysm on her brain.

Ryan said:

“Until she was finally diagnosed, Ella-Grace was in constant pain and suffering with round-the-clock headaches…
“It was heartbreaking to see her in such pain – and even worse being powerless to help. It was every parent’s nightmare.”

Further tests diagnosed Vein of Galen Malformation, one of the world’s rarest diseases which affects less around 250 people worldwide and just five births every year in Britain.

Her mother, Laura said:

“When we first learned about Ella-Grace’s condition, we were devastated…
“We were told she had a brain aneurysm that would kill her unless treated and we really thought we’d lose our baby girl…
“The operation was a success and worth every penny. She’s now doing what all kids her age should be doing – bouncing around, playing and having a good time.”

The condition, which is named after the brain’s blood vessel – the ‘Galen Vein’, prevents the body’s veins forming correctly.

It meant her Galen Vein and main artery were joined by faulty capillaries which allowed blood and other fluids to seep out through tiny holes. Instead of the draining away through the Galen vein, blood was unable to escape and began seeping into the space between her brain and skull.

Immediately after her diagnosis, Ryan and Laura took Ella to the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in London. But the news was not good, the specialists informed the family that Ella had better chance of success if the operation was carried out in France or the U.S.

The family worked hard to raise £50,000 ($74,650) for the treatment at Bicetre Hospital in Paris by Dr Pierre Lasjaunias in June.

But in a horrible twist of fate, the eminent surgeon collapsed and died just days after the operation. The families only hope was to head to America for the next bout of treatment.

The family then managed to raise another £60,000 ($89,580) from donations and sent Ella-Grace to New York’s Roosevelt Hospital on November 9 for treatment with Dr Alex Belenstein.

Ella underwent three risky operations spending over seven hours in surgery. The operations were successful but she will still need a number of top-up operations to plug the remaining holes.

But Laura said Ella-Grace’s chances of survival are now ‘significantly higher’.

She said: ‘For now, at least, we have our beautiful baby back – and we’ll do whatever it takes to keep her.’

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