Fetal surgery is undoubtedly a complex and delicate procedure with physical and ethical implications. It is rarely a treatment option and is reserved for pregnant women who meet certain criteria.
Still, doctors at two Boston hospitals stepped forward to repair malformed blood vessels in the brain two days before the girl was born, the first successful operation of its kind.
A baby named Denver Coleman suffers from Galen Venous Malformation (VOGM), a rare abnormality in which blood vessels connect directly to veins instead of capillaries, affecting the blood vessels’ ability to carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the brain. The resulting spike in blood pressure can lead to serious health problems such as congestive heart failure, loss of brain tissue, and an enlarged head.
According to a statement from the American Heart Association (via Newsroom), VOGM affects an estimated 1 in 60,000 births. The current standard of care is after childbirth, where the surgeon cuts off the direct connections between arteries and veins in the brain to block excess blood flow. However, this surgery is very risky and not always successful. Needless to say, by the time the baby is born, severe brain damage may already have occurred, too late to prevent lifelong or fatal damage. , using intrauterine ultrasound-guided uterine surgery designed to reduce aggressive blood flow.
Just two days after a successful landmark surgery, Denver’s mother, Kenyatta Coleman, gave birth. Plus, she had to go home after a few weeks and didn’t need any more medications or treatments. Now 6 weeks old, Denver is a happy, perfectly healthy newborn.
“It was the first time I heard her cry and I can’t even put into words how I felt in that moment,” Coleman told CNN. “I could hold her, look up at her, hear her cry.” was just the most beautiful moment.”
Denver is the first of an estimated 20 babies to receive this innovative new treatment as part of a clinical trial. Hopefully, she is the first of many children to make miraculous recoveries.
See her story below.
Boston doctors perform groundbreaking brain surgery on baby still in womb