Identical twins born after successful surgery in mother's womb
Identical twins were born Wednesday in Minnesota after their mother was diagnosed in her of pregnancy with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, reported the Pioneer Press.
Gavin and Owen Cassellius were born Wednesday at 5 pounds, 9 ounces and 5 pounds, 4 ounces.
Their mother, Jeana Cassellius, was diagnosed in her 19th week of pregnancy with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, an imbalance that occurs when identical twins share a placenta and one chronically loses blood to the other. In many cases, neither child survives. The "donor" child can become dehydrated and weak, while the "recipient" can swell and develop heart failure because of overwhelming blood volume.
Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome occurs in 3 percent of all pregnancies, and treatment options are limited. Babies die in 80 to 90 percent of these cases without treatment.
Doctors at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis and Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota researched, fetoscopic laser ablation, a treatment option that had not been used in Minnesota until this year.
The procedure involves threading a tiny laser light into the uterus and using it to sever the shared vessels that are causing the imbalance in blood flow.
The absence of this surgical option in Minnesota troubled Drs. William Block and Brad Feltis.
"It pushed Brad and (me) to feel like we needed to be able to offer that here," Block said.
Fetis and Block performed Jeana Cassellius' operation July 3, after traveling to Belgium to learn the procedure.
Studies have shown that 35 percent to 40 percent of these surgeries save both twins and 75 percent to 90 percent of the surgeries save at least one twin. However, neurological impairments can occur for up to 8 percent of the surviving newborns, and the deaths of both babies still occur in up to one in four cases.
Cassellius' operation was successful as the babies survived to 24 week's gestation and beyond. The twins were born at 36 week, near full term.