In A First For The Whole World, Doctors In The U.S. Operate On A Developing Baby's Brain.

Jun, 2023 - by CMI

A baby with Galen malformation disease was saved by a groundbreaking brain surgery.

A pioneering brain operation saved a fetus with Galen malformation disease. Boston Children's Hospital describes "Venus of Galen malformation” (VOGM) as a rare cerebral blood vessel disorder. In VOGM, misshapen brain arteries connect directly to veins instead of capillaries, slowing blood flow. High-pressure blood rushes into veins. Vein pressure can create many issues. CNN reports that American surgeons performed pioneering brain surgery on a fetus to address a rare brain blood vessel problem.

Brigham and Women's Hospital and Boston Children's Hospital operated on "Venus of Galen malformation," a rare brain disease. The disease occurs when the brain-to-heart blood artery develops improperly. The news agency said that the anomaly causes an excess of blood to stress the veins and heart, causing a flow of health issues.

"Tremendous brain injuries and immediate heart failure after birth are the two big challenges," said Boston Children's Hospital radiologist Dr. Darren Orbach. He said that newborns are treated with catheters to insert small coils to decrease blood flow. Treatment often comes too late. Despite advances in care, 50–60% of babies having this disease will get severely unwell quickly. About 40% of those die. Orbach stated half of surviving infants had serious neurological and cognitive impairments.

CBS News says that Baby Denver was growing properly in her mom's womb when doctors found this strange brain blood artery problem on a routine ultrasound. Most of the time, these kids die from heart failure or brain damage. Denver's heart was having trouble, and the problem was getting worse quickly.

At 34 weeks of pregnancy, a team from Boston Children's and the Brigham used ultrasound guidance, an amniocentesis needle, and tiny coils to stop blood flow in the abnormal blood vessels.