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Boston Doctors Perform A Pioneering Brain Surgery On A Baby In The Womb

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Boston Doctors Perform A Pioneering Brain Surgery On An Unborn Baby Still In The Womb

Boston Doctors Perform A Pioneering Brain Surgery On An Unborn Baby Still In The Womb

In a first of its kind, doctors have performed brain surgery on a baby inside the womb in a Boston hospital.

The surgery was performed to fix potentially deadly damage to blood vessels — and it saved the infant from suffering both heart failure and a stroke after birth, news agency SWNS reported.

The rare pre-natal condition is known as Vein of Galen malformation (VOGM). In VOGM, arteries carrying “high pressure” blood connect to one of the main veins deep at the base of the brain, said SWNS.

Normally, as a fetus develops, “these arteries should link to smaller capillaries — slowing blood flow and delivering oxygen to surrounding tissue,” that agency noted.

VOGM is most often first seen on a pre-natal ultrasound scan, then diagnosed by MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) during the late second or third trimester of pregnancy.

It is estimated that VOGM, the most common congenital vascular brain malformation, occurs in as many as one in every 60,000 births, SWNS reported. The U.S. team reportedly used ultrasound to carry out the successful procedure at 34 weeks and two days gestational age.

Due to the rupture of membranes, the baby, who is unnamed, was delivered by the induction of vaginal birth two days later and is now home, SWNS said.

“In our ongoing clinical trial, we are using ultrasound-guided trans-uterine embolization to address the Vein of Galen malformation before birth,” said Professor Darren Orbach, M.D., PhD, of Boston Children’s Hospital, according to SWNS.

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